Every time I pass my old elementary school or middle school, I cringe a little at the sinister, depressing bars encompassing them. Putting fences around schools does nothing to protect them, and poses a potential threat to student safety.
Within the past five years, fences have been put in place around the majority of Castro Valley schools with the intended function of keeping unauthorized persons off campus and away from students; however, the fences that surround Castro Valley schools do not accomplish this.
In the first place, our schools have not previously had a chronic problem with people entering the campus and harming students. In the past there have been issues with graffiti, but putting up fences is not really a solution to that because the gates are frequently unlocked or open, and anyone who really wants to enter school grounds can do do so easily by climbing the chain-link portion of the fence.
Not only are the fences unhelpful in protecting students, they pose a safety hazard. In the event of a fire, it would take much longer to funnel kids out of various gates than it would for them to simply walk out.
For high school students, the fences and gates that enclose our campus pose as a great inconvenience. I know I am not the only one who has been late for class because I had to go around the campus to find a unlocked gate. I can understand locking gates after school to discourage loitering, but keeping half the gates locked during lunch does not make any sense. Besides, the whole fence business is pointless because everyone knows that if you need to get in or out of the school, the chain-link gate by the track can be easily climbed. Late students enter the campus in this fashion frequently.
The money spent on the massive fences surrounding our schools could have been much better spent on funding for the sports and arts programs that have been cut from the education system in our district. If our community spent more on education, there would probably be fewer incidents of people entering the campus to cause trouble.