Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Gate Construction At Venice Concludes Amid New School Year

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Venice High is now a closed campus as new gate installations were put into place just in time for the new school year. 

The first proposal for the gates was introduced by former principal Gabriel Griego during a town hall meeting back in October 2020. Then, once again, in February 2022, the plans for the gates were discussed in another town hall meeting—this time with former principal Cynthia Headrick.

The reasons for the gates relatively remained the same: the increase in vandalism, loitering, the homeless, and the thinly-stretched campus monitors and custodians were the school’s main concerns.

According to assistant principal Crystal Dukes, safety is the number one priority at Venice, and in her opinion, installing the gates was the right move in promoting more security measures around campus.

“If we didn’t have these gates, anyone could easily come onto campus who isn’t supposed to be on campus, which is concerning because we don’t know who that person is,” she said. “But by having gates and keeping them locked, we now have centralized the only way that they can access the campus.”

Having also been a student at Venice in the early 2000s has made an impact on Dukes’ point of view on campus security, especially after the Columbine school shooting in 1999.

“It’s nice to see that twenty-three years later, we’re moving in the right direction of making sure that we are keeping everyone safe on campus and taking extra measures to do so,” she said.

The Venice community is still processing these new features on campus, Dukes said. 

“Have there been students who have expressed that they don’t like them? Yes,” she said. “But, there have equally been students who have expressed how much safer they feel on campus.”

One student who is in support of the gates is Associated Student Body President senior Abbasali Fazal.

“As an open campus before, people were just walking in, even during the school day and during the weekends as well, but I think that because Venice is now more of a safe and campus—the gates were a good idea,” he said.

However, Fazal said that the color of the gates, which are black, could have a little more school spirit.

“Obviously the color was an interesting choice, but if they can paint it over again, like maybe a school color that matches the front, that would be better.”

In addition to student input, teachers have also expressed opinions about the new gates.

One English teacher who is in opposition for the new installation is Hazel Kight-Witham.

“Gating Venice High School has been a debate for my whole ten years here,” she said. “But, I do not think fencing the school creates safety. 

“I think safety comes from a restorative school environment where students and adults trust, respect, and listen to one another,” she added.

However, according to Kight-Witham, disrespecting the campus with vandalism and other poor choices is reason enough to understand the go-ahead for the gates at Venice High.

“I just wish there had been a different solution,” she said. “I don’t even know if there is a solution.”

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