A mother and former South San ISD board member is demanding an increase in security to keep her children safe after learning about the possibility of a potential cut to security officers.
The school district sent out a letter just days after the Florida high school shooting to family and staff. The letter stated that the children’s safety is their No. 1 priority. But parents like Stacey Alderete say that making a cut in security contradicts their mission.
During the South San ISD school board meeting, held just one week one week after the mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead, Alderete made her plea to increase security.
On Tuesday, Alderete says that she dressed like a student and threw on a backpack to prove how easily it can be for strangers to enter the school unknowingly.
On her phone, Alderete recorded video as she walked into South San High School through an open door, where she says she roamed the hallways for more than 20 minutes without being questioned before checking in at the front office.
"Had that been somebody else with the wrong intentions, we wouldn't be standing here talking about it," Alderete said.
She says that the easy access to the campus left her worried about her children’s safety. She says that her daughter attends South San High School and her son attends a middle school in the same district.
Since Alderete left her seat on the school board, she claims that a number of security officer positions have been cut.
"We are demanding that they give back our officers and that they add more," Alderete said.
During the board meeting at the South San district office, the superintendent pointed out that a previous discussion about cuts to security officers was just one of many considerations to make a dent in a potential $7.4 million budget reduction for next year.
Currently, four officers are assigned to the high school, two officers are assigned to each middle school, and two officers cover all nine elementary schools.
“It's not enough," Alderete said.
Alderete would also like to see active shooter drills at schools to prepare students.
"I asked my daughter, ‘What do you do if someone comes into the schools?’ She said, 'I don't know, run,'” Alderete said. "My message tonight is that our children need to come first. Not just our children, but our teachers and our staff on our campus. You know, their safety should be priority."
According to a statement released by South San ISD, most principals keep exterior doors at elementary schools locked and most middle schools and high schools do not lock exterior doors.
Officials say that to keep those schools safe, officers constantly monitor those doors and the security cameras.
Alderete says that while officers do their best to secure the area, they need more manpower to keep students safe.
School officials say that the proposed reductions are simply a discussion and a final decision will be made when the budget is adopted in August.
Alderete was served with a criminal trespass warning from the school district for walking through the school. She claims that she did nothing wrong and did check in at the front office eventually, but felt compelled to prove the need for more security first.