New Security Measures


Carrie Zhang, Managing Editor-in-Chief

On a recent afternoon, Spanish teacher Maria Cohen was leaving Burroughs when she noticed something amiss with her car, which was located at the Price parking lot. “The window on the passenger seat was broken and everything inside the glove compartment was out,” Ms. Cohen recounted. “There was glass everywhere. I could not believe what in the world was happening!”

“I still feel unease when I park at the Price parking lot and when I am working late going to my car,” she added.  In recent years, the Burroughs administration has taken steps to improve security and decrease crime to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.  One such security measure is the receptionist in the Clayton lot foyer.  The receptionist serves multiple purposes—keeping track of visitors and seniors and serving as a welcoming center. All visitors are now required to sign in. Seniors must also sign out and in when leaving campus.  Thus, in the event of an emergency, students can easily be located.  In recent years, more doors have been locked to reduce access to outside people, including the doors located next to Graduation Grove and the side door to the Star Building.

Other measures include yearly revisions of the school emergency procedures and the security manual, which are submitted to the Emergency Management Service of St. Louis. Furthermore, during the summer, the Ladue Police Department and the Ladue Fire Department collaborate closely with the Burroughs administration to ensure campus safety.  In the case of an intruder, rally points have been set up which are places that the police would secure as well.

However, while the administration has taken action to improve security, students question whether these precautions are enough.

Ann Zhang (‘20) said, “I don’t think I totally understand the reasoning behind all the new procedures that Burroughs is implementing. For example, why do we now lock one door at that corner of the Brauer building where there are two pairs of double doors anyway?”  Students also speculate whether the addition of a receptionist and locking a few doors will eliminate any harmful outside intruders. In an interview, Ms. Cohen expressed dismay that there were still no cameras on the far side of the Price lot, where her car was broken into.

Furthermore, interviews with a variety of other high school students revealed that Burroughs lags behind some schools across the country in terms of security protocols and safety precautions. An open campus like MICDS functions on a keypad system—pin-codes that change periodically are required to enter almost every building on campus.

Grihith Varaday (‘20), a student at MICDS, said, “MICDS is definitely a safe campus. We haven’t had any crime-related incidents or serious security concerns in the past.”

MICDS, like many schools, conducts monthly drills to teach the students how to act in case of an emergency.  While the open campus at Burroughs eliminates possible security procedures that could eliminate outside entry, such as requiring ID, science teacher Scott Deken argues that the open campus is a benefit to campus safety.

The most important thing a school can do is build community where students are known,

— Dr. Deken

“Here’s the number one thing that every safety expert will say. The most important thing a school can do is build a community where students are known,” Dr. Deken said. “It’s actually been shown that places where you have to enter through a metal detector or even buzzing in breaks down community.”

The administration has wrestled with issues specific to an open campus and debated the consequences of potential changes. These changes would transform the campus entirely with the addition of fences and limited entry points. Dr. Deken added, “Think about how congested that would be. Think about costs versus benefits. What costs would there be to have just those two versus the benefit of feeling more welcome and more inviting?”