CHPS Director of Security addresses our current preventative measures
February 27, 2022
“It’s natural to feel fear… fear is a part of our lives.” Those were the honest words of Anthony Saporito, the Director of Security for the Cherry Hill Public Schools (CHPS), addressing concerns about school safety and gun violence.
Over recent years, anxiety about school shootings has risen, especially in times when high-profile events of violence have recently occurred. While Saporito recognized the validity of such concerns, he also assured that his department is working to keep Cherry Hill’s schools safe.
While Saporito said that some measures remain confidential “so that they don’t get into the hands of the bad people,” he did detail some of the actions taken in the prevention of school gun violence.
First of all, he said, buildings remain locked throughout the school day. When visitors need to enter the building, secure procedures are used to ensure they have an appointment and are allowed to enter. If someone is dropping something off, some CHPS buildings have security vestibules that limit the visitor from ever entering the main school building.
Beyond these initial measures, Saporito stressed that security staff “rely on intelligence.” From building relationships with parents and staff members to collaborating with the Cherry Hill Police Department, CHPS security staff work to ensure that they will find out about any threat with time to prevent it. Saporito said that when it comes to the issue of school shootings, this is especially important; school shooters have been known to reveal their intentions to someone before ever committing the act.
“It’s a community,” Saporito said of the school security system. According to Saporito, campus police officers are always working to maintain communicative relationships with other parts of school staff, such as counselors and administrators. He said that anyone in the community with information about security risks should tell that information to anyone with whom they are comfortable, whether it be a police officer or a teacher or a custodian, with the trust that such information will immediately be passed on to the necessary authorities.
Certain security measures remain unavailable in the school environment. For example, Saporito outlined extensive logistical challenges that would make the addition of metal detectors at school doors infeasible. As such, some level of risk will always remain.
Ultimately, Saporito urged members of the CHPS community to “be responsible” and do their part in preventing risks of gun violence in schools. From keeping guns stored and locked responsibly to reporting any important information, students and families can help respond to fear with proactivity and prevention.