Since the gated fence was placed between CSUN and the Valley New High School No. 1, people have always wondered if there were issues with high school students crossing over to campus or vice versa.
The principal of Valley New High School, Connie Semf, said there have been no cases of high school students exploring campus grounds without supervision.
“No students were sneaking over to the CSUN campus, or none that I know about anyway,” she said. “If that ever happened, we would take the appropriate actions.”
Semf said the fences were put up a year ago, and that she thinks CSUN put up its own fences as well.
“We have a collaboration, as much as possible, with CSUN,” she said. “We work very closely with CSUN police. They know what we’re doing and we know what they’re doing.”
CSUN Police Chief Anne Glavin confirmed their relationship with the high school, which will likely be renamed Northridge Academy High School, in an e-mail.
“I am very pleased that we have a very strong collaborative partnership with our colleagues in the (Los Angeles Unified School District) high school, particularly with Principal Connie Sempf,” Glavin wrote. “My Department has also worked closely with the (Los Angeles Unified School District) Police on traffic control issues, parking issues, emergency response protocols, and we have conducted joint training exercises and task forces.”
That does not mean, however, that parents are not concerned about their children’s safety at the high school, which is adjacent to the 15 residence halls of the University Park Apartments on Zelzah Avenue. Close to 2,000 students live in the UPA.
“There’s more of a fear factor that high school girls will be approached by college boys, especially with the dorms so close by,” Semf said. “Again, if that ever happened we would take action.”
Jolina Lucasey, a member of the high school’s Parent Teacher Association, said she does not see a problem with the two schools being so close together.
“I didn’t really think of that as a concern,” she said. “The campus is secure enough. Then again, I have a son here, not a daughter.”
Even though high school students are not allowed on campus without permission, some CSUN students still see high school students on campus.
“There are some of our students on (the CSUN) campus – the library for example,” Semf said, adding that some CSUN students will be coming over to the high school to work with her students.
Valley New High school is still finishing up construction, but some of their newer security additions are already in place. In addition to an armed school officer scanning school grounds, they have a supervision schedule that parents who are volunteering use to make sure the students are “where they’re supposed to be” at all times, Semf said.
“Once the first bell rings, the gates are shut and locked – they can’t leave school grounds without a parent or guardian,” Semf said. “For guests who need to come in, we have a visitors sign-in a log and they are required to wear a visitor pass.”
In addition to lockdown procedures, each teacher has a personal phone to reach the main office in case of an emergency.
There is also a new underground parking lot under the high school. There are cameras in the main office to monitor all parts of the parking lot, and there are intercom speakers that reach the main office in the event of an emergency.
Beth-Ann Waller, a junior at CSUN, said all of the security at the high school is a good idea.
“I’m so glad they have all this protection and security,” she said. “It’s also good that they can’t access the student dorms, too. I don’t think CSUN needs that kind of security because we are right next to the dorms, and high school students are farther away from home.”
Jason Tanner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.