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The Round Table: state of campus

The Round Table is an article series by reporters at The Eagle’s Scream crafted from conversations about Eagle Rock High School’s most pressing issues between different members of our school community. This series aims to highlight our strengths and areas of improvement and use it as a guide to create change at our school.


This is the first installment of The Round Table. This session discussed the state of campus, encompassing our school’s infrastructure and safety. This article contains comprehensive summaries of each general topic under the main issue.


This session included:

  • Rebekah Grace de Guzman (10th), Claire Duarte (9th), Nyda Hosack (9th), and Avni Koppula (9th): Students and Reporters at The Eagle’s Scream

  • Mr. Steinorth: Principal

  • Mr. Tang and Mrs. Cisneros: Assistant Principals

  • Ms. Van Ostrand (Ms. V): Language and Literature Teacher

  • Mrs. Duran: Parent/Community Representative

  • Ms. Maria Gonzalez: Campus Aide

  • Mr. Ruiz: Plant Manager


New Projects

written by Nyda Hosack


School administration has several projects in progress on our campus, two of which were discussed at The Round Table. Firstly, one that has already begun to be implemented on campus includes bringing new phones to all the classrooms, placing security cameras, and updating the PA system. New phones have already been installed in all classrooms, and security cameras will start to be installed before the end of the school year. 


All photos by Rebekah Grace de Guzman and Claire Duarte

Everyone at Eagle Rock High School knows that if a fire alarm goes off, you don’t need to do anything besides roll your eyes. The fire alarms constantly going off is a huge pain, but are caused by several factors. This includes vaping in the bathrooms and people pulling them, but the main issue is the system’s age. Thankfully, the school has finally crowdsourced enough funds to revamp all the fire alarms on campus. This will take a couple of years to be finished, but it will be worth it.


In addition to the fire alarm project, many of the bungalows on campus will be replaced. The bungalows were originally built fifty years ago as temporary classrooms while the main building was being rebuilt after the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. Because of this, they weren't meant to remain in full use for this long and are due an update. The state can’t sign off on revamping the fire alarm system until the bungalows are up to state certification. Since it would be cheaper to demolish and rebuild the bungalows than go in and fix a few specific things, all the bungalows will be moved out and replaced over the next few years.


The bungalows on campus will be replaced soon.

The final project we discussed at The Round Table was the rebuilding of our track. If you are on either the track and field or cross country teams, you’d know that if Eagle Rock were to ever be in the position of hosting a meet, our cross country and track and field coach Mr. Martinez would probably start crying. Fortunately, with a new plan put in place by the district, the track and field is going to be completely redone.


This project is currently still in the design phase, but should get started by the end of 2025 and will be completed after a year and a half. Unfortunately, the track and field will be unusable for sports teams for two spring seasons and a fall and winter season, but in the end, the school will have a much better track and field. Sports will need the area to practice, but Mr. Steinorth says the administration “will be working with local district operations to find [the teams] secure and safe practice sites.”

Rebekah Grace de Guzman facilitating The Round Table

ADA Infrastructure and LAUSD's Repair System

written by Rebekah Grace de Guzman


Last year, the administration building’s elevator broke down. This became an important issue due to how many people relied on the elevator to reach our upper-level classrooms: notably, it confined teachers to the second floor during Open House, leading to the hallway being utilized and classrooms being shared between teachers. It soon became a symbol of our school’s negligence in the minds of our students and families due to the amount of time it took to get fixed.


The elevator in ERHS's main building was recently repaired.

Coincidentally, the elevator was fixed on the day the discussion took place. For those unfamiliar, Mr. Steinorth explained that it took so long because the admin building and the elevator were built in 1971 and relied on technology from that era. As a result, when parts of the elevator broke, it was hard to replace them since those parts were no longer in production. It eventually became a process of “making do with modern parts and trying to fit it into the old system.” Mr. Steinorth also noted that the contractors experienced shipping delays which pushed back the elevator from being fixed even further.


The elevator’s repair is a part of the school’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) project. ADA is an act that, in the case of our campus, makes sure that people with disabilities have equal access to public facilities. This project sought to make our campus more accessible and compliant with the ADA’s standards. This ranged from a wheelchair path built into the horticulture garden to doors widened for those in wheelchairs. Mrs. Cisneros even remarked, “I don’t think there’s a piece of the school that wasn’t touched by the ADA project.”


The newly-built ramp up to the horticulture garden was a part of the ADA project on campus.

In addition to this project, Mr. Steinorth and administrators communicated with downtown leaders at LAUSD, who know the laws and compliance issues, and then assigned people to each one. This is a different system from issues with the AC and ventilation systems: Ms. V highlighted this with the overheating her classroom experienced when returning from Spring Break.


Mr. Ruiz and Mrs. Duran during The Round Table.

Mr. Ruiz explained that when an issue arises with the AC, he makes a call to the district department. But, the issue remains unresolved for a while because they prioritize elementary schools and make their way up the system, ending with high schools. As a result, delays are completely out of the school’s control.


Vaping and the Effects of COVID

written by Claire Duarte

There have been consistent issues in the bathrooms at ERHS.

Ms. Maria mentioned that the issue of vaping and misbehavior in our school’s restrooms is a very prevalent issue at ERHS. Due to this, many students feel uncomfortable going to the bathroom. School administration has tried various measures to curb this matter. Mrs. Cisneros explained, “One of the things is during lunchtime, [we’ve made the] North Gym bathrooms really be for seventh and eighth graders so that they feel that they have a safe place to go to use the restroom.” Mr. Steinorth has also been directly involved with this as well by making sure the boys’ bathroom in the cafeteria, now designated for high schoolers, is safe during lunchtime.


Mrs. Cisneros walked the table through the process of what could happen to students when they're caught vaping. However, she mentioned that many kids don’t care about the rules or consequences and are starting to find more ways to get away with it.


Mrs. Cisneros talked about the issues in the bathrooms during The Round Table.

For example, she stressed that kids have gotten so comfortable that they will leave their vapes and drugs in the bathroom so that others, like their friends, can use them. Mrs. Cisneros addressed it head-on, “We're aware that that happens.” To combat this issue, administration has started searching the bathrooms. Though they sometimes don’t find anything, when they do it's one less vape that they have to worry about.


Alongside the issue of drugs at our school, mental health goes hand in hand with it. A lot of kids seek escape with substances, which are dangerous for them and have been proven to make their mental health worse.


Drugs were mentioned in The Round Table. (photo by Raimond Klavins.)

Avni Koppula, one of the student representatives and reporters from The Eagle’s Scream emphasized that when coming to ERHS post-pandemic as a 7th grader, everything was so surprising to her. She witnessed things like fights, which made her feel uncomfortable in the new environment. Avni reflected on how she has been offered drugs multiple times, and even after she refused, the people offering were still insisting on it.


“You know, that’s one of the things that disturbs me the most is [that it’s students in upper-grade levels, like 11th or 12th grade.] And then, they're very not concerned about the fact that they're showing an example like that to seventh graders… that look up to them,” Avni elaborates. “So that's why I always try to stress it from a leadership standpoint and saying, you know, what kind of leader are you? What kind of student are you? How do you treat other people? What effect are you having on the world?”


A lot of the time, kids– especially older ones– do not realize how much damage they are doing to themselves and their peers. There’s a domino effect when a middle-schooler or freshmen see them exhibiting bad behaviors. It might carry onto them, and make them want to try it, leading to a bad cycle of misbehaving.


Student Safety

written by Avni Koppula


One of the most pressing concerns on campus continues to be the safety of our students. With such a vast student body, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure everyone is safe and out of harm's way. Although it may seem like little measures are being taken to make sure of this, there is more going on behind the scenes than you may think.


Mr. Tang discussed the Crisis Team at The Round Table.

Both in and outside of campus, the protection of Eagle Rock students is something that the administration takes very seriously. During the round table discussion, Assistant Principal Mr. Tang informed us about the school's Crisis Team, a fully functioning team that is, “composed of 30 plus members with specialized training from the district,” in things such as CPR, first aid, and other safety precautions. This team's main goal is to ensure that students at ERHS have a well-prepared and active group of people to rely on in case of emergency. Mr. Tang mentions that this was created in response to the lockdown last school year that occurred during an incident at the park.


Even now, the safety that the Crisis Team brings goes beyond the high school campus. Fights, physical emergencies, and even suicide prevention are incidents that can be reported to them. No matter where an emergency may be, the team is beyond prepared for anything that may happen– both in and outside of school.

 

Adding to the increased safety measures in school bathrooms, the Crisis Team is a resource that is valuable to anyone on the Eagle Rock campus, prioritizing students no matter the situation. In addition to this article, an in-depth look at the Crisis Team including how it works, its goals, and other information will be out on The Eagle’s Scream soon.


Yet despite all the efforts that staff and administrators put into the well-being of our campus, Mrs. Duran ended by mentioning the importance of student voices. “What works for students is going to council meetings and [going to your council member]... Campaigning and organizing can do wonders and can make a difference.”


We at The Eagle’s Scream hope that with this edition of The Round Table, we can start moving toward a transparent understanding of our school’s culture and inner workings. We feel that the real truth comes out when all stakeholders can share their perspectives. We all seek a campus environment that ensures the safety of our students and staff and promotes a positive culture. We hope that the Round Table helps with this vision.


If you’re interested in participating in a Round Table session, please fill out this form. Thank you!

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