Visitor’s policy causes dilemma

“Hello, how may I help you?” is the first line of defense at San Marin. This is the most commonly used phrase by campus supervisors when they address anyone unrecognized walking around campus.

San Marin is an open campus, which means that there is no fence or enclosure around the perimeter, and students are able to come and go during lunch. This benefits students because it allows them to go off campus for food or if they forget something at home, but it also causes several dilemmas.

Primarily, this lack of containment gives people who aren’t a part of the San Marin community easy access to the heart of campus without having to first talk with a faculty member. Anyone can visit by simply parking and strolling onto campus, and unlike many schools in colder climates that are completely indoors, there isn’t just one door available for people to enter the school. However, there is a rule that no visitor is allowed to walk around campus without a pass, which is obtained in the front office.

Campus supervisors and security officers Tanya Ruano and Stephanie Short believe that San Marin is safe and security doesn’t need to be improved.

“Our number one priority is the students and their safety, and making them have a better future and education and ensure they go on in the world,” Ruano said.

Due to San Marin’s neighborhood and community, many feel that security isn’t a troubling issue.

“If someone has an intent to come on campus, there isn’t a whole lot that is stopping them, but I’m not too concerned with our neighborhood,” senior Michael Fretz said. “There is nothing that we could do on campus [to improve security] that we aren’t already doing.”

However, others argue that there is room for improvement.

“When I was in Point Arena, we had a security guard walking around all of the time,” said math teacher David Blair. “We had a very similar open campus [to San Marin], with it opening up into a town, but I remember thinking when I first moved there that it was really nice having a security person on campus.”

Hiring a security guard as a full-time position would not be easy to accomplish, but it could be a possibility. Principal Mark Sims worked as a campus security guard in the past, and he agrees that San Marin should consider the concept of hiring one due to the open campus.

“If we are talking about adding people to support student safety, to support interacting with students, to support reinforcing positive behaviors, I wish we could have more than one,” Sims said.

Paying another employee would result in cuts in other parts of the budget, and would have to be approved by the classified union, which Sims believes is a possibility. However, some believe that a security guard is too expensive.

“I think that the money needed to hire a security guard is not worth it. Occasionally, we have police on campus, and I feel like that’s all we need,” Fretz said.

“I think that San Marin should have a full-time security guard, who’s completely devoted to school safety monitoring cameras,” Blair said. “The security guard we had on campus was licensed to carry a firearm and there is some extra security having someone around like that, who went to training throughout the year and came into classes.”

However, the idea of having an armed security guard on campus is controversial. When asked about the idea of an armed security guard on campus, Sims was quick to refuse the idea.