CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — After hearing complaints from a Vista Ridge High School student regarding student safety in the school’s stairwells, Leander ISD has decided to install cameras in the stairwells.
In a letter sent out to parents on Friday, the VRHS Principal Paul Johnson said the district will install cameras in the two stairwells in question during Spring Break. The school has a total of seven stairwells.
“Our highest priority at Vista Ridge High School is to foster an environment where every student is physically and emotionally safe. Concerns about student safety were recently communicated, and we must respond appropriately,” said Johnson in the letter.
A few weeks ago, VRHS senior Sydney Gutierrez, 18, addressed the Leander ISD School Board about the issues she’s faced at the school. Gutierrez told the board in her freshman and junior year she was sexually assaulted in the school’s stairwell.
“I didn’t share with anyone what happened to me and what prompted me to come forward was to not feel alone because you feel very alone when something like this happens to you,” said Gutierrez.
“In the past few weeks, Vista Ridge administration also visited with numerous student groups to solicit their perspective and will be conducting a student safety survey after Spring Break,” continued Johnson.
Gutierrez’s mother says in the span of one month, her daughter was able to get the administrators to listen and make a change.
“I’m very proud that she didn’t stand down,” said Stacye Blake, Gutierrez’s mother. “When she went to administrators three to four weeks ago, they were trying to appease her by telling her to start an empowerment club. A lot of young ladies would have settled. She said ‘no’ this isn’t what this is about. She kept going and was very stubborn and took it to the board.”
The school will also have teachers and staff monitor the stairwells more often.