Security Measures Bring Feeling of Safety to Woodland Hills

By Vellucci, Justin | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Security Measures Bring Feeling of Safety to Woodland Hills


Vellucci, Justin, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Lindsay Bagwell remembers Woodland Hills High School feeling so chaotic last year she didn't want to show up for class.

This year couldn't be more different.

"I actually really feel much safer now than I did last year and years before. There's more security now and there are cameras everywhere," said Bagwell, 17, of Swissvale, a Woodland Hills senior. "It's much more pleasant to go through the halls now."

The numbers -- some of them at least -- would seem to indicate otherwise, but Superintendent Walter Calinger said Bagwell isn't imagining things.

"The proof isn't in the statistics. The proof is in walking through the building and seeing the building's different," Calinger said.

The explanation? Incidents may be up, but discipline is, too.

There were 72 fights during the first six weeks of school in Woodland Hills schools, compared to 48 for the same period last year, according to the district. Six weapons violations were recorded, up from two, as were nine drug and alcohol violations, up from none.

Out-of-school suspensions have nearly doubled, from 124 to 231. Four expulsion hearings have been held, compared to none this time last year.

Administrators attribute the shift to under-reporting last year coupled with a new, no-nonsense approach to misbehavior this year.

"They're making it very clear they have very high standards for principals, for teachers and for students," said Richard Wallace, a former Pittsburgh schools superintendent who has been working with Woodland Hills on its discipline problems.

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