On the fence

Yosef Al-Emeri, Opinions Editor

October 27, 2017

    Redlands High School – An overlook into current plans for building a fence around the entire school campus in the near future.

    Here at Redlands High School, there are plans for building a fence surrounding the entire school campus very soon. To help with clarifying the issue, an interview was conducted with Chris Ruhm, the assistant principal at RHS. Mr. Ruhm has revealed some crucial details regarding the future fence.

    First and foremost, the soon-to-be fence was part of a measure passed by the community, about a decade ago, in which Redlands  Unified School District sites were to be made more secure and safe, according to Mr. Ruhm. As such, the construction of the upcoming fence is to assist in achieving this objective.

    Yet in spite of this, the case seems to be that many students are unaware of the fence’s construction and the measure which helped allow it. Because of this fact, Mr. Ruhm believes it is important for everyone at Redlands High School to know that this was a decision made by them, the community of Redlands.

    In regards to the scheduled time that construction of the fence will begin being worked on, Mr. Ruhm stated that a generous estimate would be it beginning in November, but also said that it’s more likely that construction will be postponed sometime in 2018. Note that this is just for the fence, and that the main gate is said to be installed during summer.

    Regardless, the construction of the fence will take a large amount of resources, as it is supposed to encircle and cover the huge distance the Redlands High School campus has, while at the same time being a large, sturdy, and durable fence. To add further to this, it was proposed that the fence may possibly be around 8 feet tall and made of galvanized steel, could be a plausible explanation as to why people are unsure about the project’s completion date.

    Keep in mind that Redlands High School consists of both a north campus and a south campus, meaning there will be a total of two fences built, with each circling around the entirety of each campus.

    It is not entirely clear yet how the addition of a fence will play out in affecting the school campus, although it has been mentioned that South Campus parking lot will remain outside of the fence and that the current crosswalk linking South Campus and North Campus will not need to be changed in order to make the fence work.

    Regardless, the creation of a fence will finally bring Redlands High School up to date with other Redlands Unified School District schools, such as Redlands East Valley High School and Citrus Valley High School, as these two schools, along with many other RUSD schools, already have campus fences of their own.

    Speaking of which, Mr. Ruhm said that the upcoming fence will most likely resemble the appearance of the fence at Redlands East Valley High School, as it will have a grayish silver color, and will partially contain chain links and plenty of iron rods.

    Because of this appearance, some students have made the assumption that the purpose of this fence is to lock the students inside, much like a jail, when in actuality, the fences are being built there in order to secure Redlands High School from unauthorized people entering in.

    In fact, Mr. Ruhm specifically felt that this point was very important for students to have knowledge of, as he stated that it’s, “Critical for the students to know that it’s (the fence) not there to keep them in and that it’s there to keep intruders out and to protect from the outside.”

    One of the problems that Redlands High School has been recently facing is vandalism and intrusion, this occurring much more often than one would expect. Notable examples of this would be when an arsonist set multiple fires at Redlands High School in 2015 and when an intruder came at night nearly a year ago and broke several classroom windows.

    Mr. Ruhm also stated that it’s very common for wandering people to mistake Redlands High School for a public park at night, and hang around there. This has been a cause of extra work for the faculty however, as everyday before school starts, the staff have to spend their time searching for scattered litter, like empty bottles.

    Since the creation of a fence would eliminate the need for this daily procedure, it seems that the construction of this fence will be a valuable asset in deterring and preventing these incidents from occurring.

    Another important thing to note about the construction of the fence, is that it is being built during a time where student security and safety is more important than ever. Within the span of 2 years, places next to Redlands High School have experienced tragic losses of life. Both the San Bernardino shooting and North Park Elementary school shooting have shown just how important security is. The building of this fence is to help prevent these tragedies from happening.

    Although it may be true that fences are not a new idea, it does not take away from the fact that it does secure and protect places from outsiders.

    Still, original or not, the fence will be a new addition to Redlands High School for both students and faculty to get acquainted with. This fact is made much more  significant when taking into consideration the fact that this is the first time in Redlands High School’s long history of 126 years, that there has ever been a fence, making this a large and unprecedented change.

    No matter what though, Mr. Ruhm firmly believes that this new chapter of Redlands High School history will be one of great benefit, as it is his belief that the fence will be a very good thing for Redlands High School in both the short and long run, since it helps to protect students from outside intruders.

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