Portage Student Speaks Out About Safety Concerns Following Renovation

May 30, 2018

Three months have passed since the deadly school shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida and the nation is, yet again, faced with another set of school shootings.  The most recent shooting, happening at Noblesville West Middle School.

 

The frequency and commonality of violent acts in schools raises the concern for school safety all around the nation and here in Northwest Indiana. The question of, "what can we do to keep students safe at school?" now gets asked more and more.

Portage High School recently finished a $10 million dollar renovation of the west side of the building this past spring and one of its many new features is glass classroom walls.  The new design concept allows for more natural light and spaces where students can collaborate, but how safe are they? 

Daryn Shine, a Senior at Portage and a member of the newly formed Portage Township Schools Student Safety Committee recently voiced his concerns about the glass walls. "It's not safe. It's completely glass. They said that the glass is not shatter resistant, not shatter proof, not bulletproof. If there were a Code Red, where could you hide? It's completely see through."

The Times Reports that Portage Township Schools Superintendent, Amanda Alaniz said the theme during planning was "future ready forward" with a look to digital-age and personalized learning for students that will encourage them to be innovative, creative and collaborative.

What does this mean for the future of school safety protocols at Portage High School?  Shine and the rest of the Student Safety Committee brought these concerns to the table at a meeting with the school board and stated that the board is working on fund-raising for the installation of bullet proof glass. 

 

Shine is graduating in matter of days, but his sister will begin attending high school this fall. "I don't feel safe for her if she has to be in a classroom where there is no door. There's completely glass. That needs to be taken care of immediately."

 

Portage's Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and members of the school board were contacted but no comments were given.