Underclassment sneak off early

The privilege of going off campus during free periods is only open to seniors, but some sophomores and juniors make clandestine exits from campus during the school day. Director of Inter-Campus Security Kevin Giberson said this breach of  school rules is an ongoing issue.

“It ebbs and flows, and right now it’s flowing,” Giberson said.

Upper School Attendance Coordinator, J. Gabriel Preciado, has in past years intermittently patrolled the Harvard-Westlake Driveway (the north entrance).

“I’m pretty tied up and checked more in the past few years,” Preciado said. “I’m going to have to find a way to do random checks, in response to the increase in reports of underclassmen abusing a senior-only privilege.”

Preciado said he was dismayed because for the first time in his time at the school, he “heard of sophomores going off campus.” 

Giberson asserted that ditching school is not only against school rules but  also compromises the safety of students who leave and are unaccounted for if an emergency occurs.

Preciado said most juniors and sophomores who leave campus during the school day go to eat at restaurants on Ventura Boulevard, but both Preciado and Giberson confirmed that students have been found off campus smoking cigarettes.

Giberson elaborated that “we receive calls from the neighbors of the school about kids smoking and descriptions of their cars, but we haven’t caught anyone twice.”

Giberson and Preciado work jointly to prevent such offenses. Being caught sneaking off campus can result in calls to parents, detention, retraction of early departure privileges for juniors or in extreme cases, rejection of a future school parking permit.

“We work on the honor system,” Preciado said. “The vast majority of students are honest, and we don’t want to be like a border checkpoint.”

“We like to give kids the opportunity to change, and repeat offenders are few and far between,” Giberson said.

In recent weeks security measures have been tightened, and Giberson is currently working on “ironing out problems” with lax security guards, charging them to be “more proactive and do more checking” of who is leaving campus.

He contended that if sneaking off campus continues to be an issue, other measures will be taken to prevent ditching, such as using the security cameras to monitor which students are leaving campus.

However, Giberson doesn’t believe that this issue will escalate or is a real problem as of now.
 “A lot of kids brag about things they aren’t doing,” he said.

Preciado’s main concern, aside from maintaining the authority of the school and safety of the students, is defending the privilege of going off campus.

“What bothers me,” he said, “is that seniors don’t get proper respect.” Juniors and sophomores leaving campus during the school day “devalues senior privilege,” Preciado said.