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New security fence raises questions of effectiveness among staff, students

Inderkum High School’s new fence leave some staff and students conflicted, asking if the new barrier is necessary
Inderkum High Schools new fence and gate, installed to enhance campus security.
Olivia Ming
Inderkum High School’s new fence and gate, installed to enhance campus security.

Inderkum High School’s new fence was pitched as a way to heighten campus security, but some members of Inderkums’ community said it is a pointless addition to the school. 

Others said it’s a needed tool to keep students safe. 

Approved during a Natomas Unified School District board meeting last November, the fence was set to be part of Inderkum’s $3 million safety plan. Designed and built by Nacht & Lewis Architects, the fence has a main entrance/exit and seven student exits accessible during dismissal. 

According to Principal Scott Pitts, security cameras will eventually be online and accessible by the front-office. In addition there will be a buzz-in system connected to the entrance. 

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Conceptual design of Inderkum High School Fence provided during Natomas Unified School District board meeting on November 16th 2022

Conceptual design of Inderkum High School Fence provided during Natomas Unified School District board meeting on Nov.16 2022 (Olivia Ming)

Senior Jenna Yee said she’s trying to keep an open mind, but it will take some time to get used to the disruptions to campus navigation.

“I definitely questioned the idea of the fence and I tried to see both perspectives on the safety side, but then I also very much considered the inconvenience of getting to class,” Yee said. “We had three years with no fence, that’s what’s throwing everybody off. But the incoming class of 2027? They’re gonna be used to the fence.”

Pitts said the primary purpose of the fence is to enhance student safety.

“The whole setup of our fence is to provide a secure perimeter so we know who’s coming onto our campus so we can keep our students feeling safe,” he said. “You might recall last year, we had quite a few instances of non-students coming through our campus – like it was almost a daily occurrence. It doesn’t mean they’re all negative, but we don’t know.”

Student Victor Kamya thinks the fence looks easy to hop over. 

It really does nothing for the school,” he said.

Sophomore Jonathan Bisrat said the fence isn’t much of an inconvenience although he has noticed a few issues. For one thing students who wish to visit the library during lunch, or those who have modified schedules, have been seen exiting and entering gates with staff assistance. 

Bisrat said campus staffers have let Inderkum students inside via the side gates without having them check into the office. Though this is more convenient for students, Bisrat worries it leaves the campus vulnerable.   

“I’ve seen students leave school and come into school during lunch through one of the gates the security monitors operate so I don’t think that it is serving its initial purpose,” Bisrat said. 

Eventually, Pitts said, this will change. Students outside the school’s perimeter will be able to show their ID card and be buzzed in while others can speak with an office administrator via the buzz-in system and explain their reason to

Inderkums buzz-in system attached to their main gate.  (Olivia Ming)

Sophomore Cailyn McNamera is trying to accept the fence – but it’s a hassle.

“It just makes a lot of things more difficult for students,” McNamera said. “It’s just limiting the amount of space that students can be in during the school day. It’s not the worst-looking thing, it just makes the school look like a prison.”

Pitts said the fence is opening up greater possibilities on campus. The school is currently adding more benches outside for students to enjoy their lunch. The set perimeter and barrier makes it safer for students to eat outside while avoiding a possible security risk, such as a delivery driver dropping off food directly to a student or people not affiliated with Inderkum wandering onto campus.  

And, Pitts added, some Inderkum traditions might be enhanced by the fence.

“So last year at our homecoming dance … we’d outgrown the atrium, and so we’re expanding seating in the gym” – something the fence will allow, Pitts said. 

“There was a plan to try to even use the front side of the school where there’s beautiful trees,” Pitts said. “But we couldn’t do it because we didn’t have a perimeter. It was open, anybody could come up off the street and access our students. Even if we’re standing out there, we couldn’t stop it. Having a perimeter changes that, so we actually have more spaces on campus we might be able to utilize for those events.”

Still, not all students are convinced.

“It’s an inconvenience that I think is worth the safety of other students,” Yee said. “I’d rather walk an extra five minutes than put the safety of other students at risk.

“But do I think the fence will actually keep the campus more safe than it was before? We’ll see.”

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Olivia Ming
Olivia Ming, Photographer
I am Olivia Ming and I attend Inderkum High School.
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    AnonymousSep 13, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    Congrats on being featured! Really interesting issue. It makes you think, is the fence keeping people out or locking them in? All in all, great writing.