Security: First Priority, Last on the List


Karen Abdemalek

Current security measures stop all visitors at the front of the school. Future plans not yet implemented include new fencing, security cameras and more.

Measure “A,” which allocated funds of up to $350 million by raising taxes to fund a bond for the Oxnard Union High School District for physical improvements to its schools, passed last June with over 55 percent voter approval. But according to officials, new security items such as fencing and cameras, are currently last in order of installation, bumped out by new turf on Cam High’s football field and an upgrade of air-conditioning in classrooms.

Cam High, the oldest school currently operating in the district, has a laundry list of improvements needed that will be paid for with the Measure “A” money. “Our first priority is security: fencing, and cameras,” said Karen Chadwick, a Cam High assistant principal. However, Chadwick said that she does not have enough information about Measure A. Chadwick also said that school administrators have no new information regarding the timing of security improvements.

Dr. Kim Stephenson, Cam High principal, said, “we would be lucky if we got it maybe by spring or summer, but what I know for sure is that we will be getting turf first,” referencing a new surface for Cam High’s football field. The new turf installation will result in cancelling the annual July 4th celebration for 2019 on Cam High’s football field according to officials.

Stephenson said she is looking forward to installing the new security system after shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last winter. “It will fence from the office and all academic centers and this will keep students and staff safe in case any shootings take place,” Stephenson said.  However, Stephenson said she is not aware of any specifics of the plan as they have not been communicated to her by OUHSD staff as yet.

Ms. Tawney Safran, Cam High’s AP European History teacher, is a supporter of the new security system presently in place including a ban on student and parent traffic at the front of the school and guest passes for all visitors. “I’m all in,” said Safran. “I believe that for our safety and security we need a barrier between us and people who would try and cause harm to the school.” Safran feels that the fencing will be an obstacle for people who are trying to disturb the school’s system.

The school’s current security system was organized by Deputy Mike Legge, School Resource Officer. In an interview, Legge said that his role is “to advise the school and district on fence placement in order for it to secure the campus.” Legge, Cam High’s SRO since 2017, believes that the current fences “only contribute minimal safety and security for this campus.” The deputy considers the new fencing an effective way to keep the school safe.

While security fencing, cameras and other items remain first on the OUHSD’s priority list, so far, installation has not moved beyond the planning stage.