There have been a host of new security measures implemented at CCHS within the past year. Walking around school, it’s difficult to find a student who isn’t wearing an ID or who is unaware of the increased regulations surrounding everything from football games to staying on campus after school. Soon, a new club is going to provide yet another layer of safety to the face of Cooper.
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, many students, parents and teachers began demanding change on a variety of scales. Some requested federal laws on firearms, while others simply asked that high schools make their campuses safer.
Enacted in March, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act addressed some of these concerns, such as the sale and possession of bump-fire stocks and the appointment of “school guardians” under the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. One feature of the act that will be brought back to Cooper City High is the creation of the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund for student crime watch programs.
Though student crime watch programs aren’t currently very common in Broward, Miami-Dade County Public Schools have been partnered with the Youth Crime Watch (YCW) of Miami-Dade County for nearly 40 years. The program, which is part of the county’s Citizens’ Crime Watch, aims to impact student well-being through awareness and involvement.
Some may view the implementation of a student crime watch program as a sign that a school is overridden with crime. However, Executive Director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade Carmen Caldwell urges the opposite.
“Starting a YCW program in a school does not signal a problem. Instead, it seeks to prevent crime and violence from happening in the school’s environment,” Caldwell said in an article for the Miami Herald. “Youth Crime Watch encourages positive peer pressure among students to take pride in their school through its series of crime prevention training programs and action projects.”
Following in the footsteps of Miami-Dade, Principal Wendy Doll is currently working on finding a sponsor for the student crime watch club that will be at CCHS. According to administration, the program should be up and running within the next month or so.
CCHS students seem to understand the possible benefits of establishing a student crime watch club, citing potential rewards such as deterring crimes committed on and around campus. Yet, Cowboys still have some concerns that the club could come across as overbearing.
“I think the student watch groups would add an extra sense of safety to our school,” junior Amanda Arocha said. “However, I don’t think it should be a strict program. I don’t want to feel like I’m constantly being watched.”
Though the CCHS crime watch club is in its formative stage, interested students will be able to find out more about the program at the November Inter-Organizational Council (IOC) meeting.
Photo by Alexa Jaspan