Permanent Recess

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Others also noted that after an initial period of vigilance, school officials tended to let down their guard, allowing students without permission to get through.

According to Root, two changes would help ensure that students don't sneak off campus: a fence and more security guards. But neither is likely to happen.

Thomas says Horizon is considering putting up a fence around the perimeter of the school, but it may be too expensive. He estimates the cost could be as high as $48,000.

Lack of money also makes it impossible to hire more security. Horizon has one part-time and six full-time security guards, which Root says isn't enough. "The whole purpose of this is like a game -- you hide and seek, you're here one day, you're over there the next day. You try to be where they don't expect you to be. There are just too many holes for them to get out."

Root was working the day that Bryan Anderson left through one of those holes. Although he said it was a horrible thing that happened, he does not think the security guards were to blame.

"Bryan should have never left campus," Root says. "Whether there was a security guard standing there or not, he probably would've gone off anyway or found another way. Yes, I'm very devastated and sorry for what he did, but it was bad judgment and stupidity."

The fact remains: Seven years later, Horizon has not found a way to keep kids from leaving campus exactly as Bryan did.

As a parent, Julie Anderson thinks the solution is tighter security and guards who actually enforce the closed-campus policy. "In Bryan's situation, he was told, Yeah, you can go, but hurry back so that nobody gets in trouble.' Well, the kids were driving a 5.0 Mustang. What kind of a car is better for hurrying back in? Schools should be made to enforce the closed-campus policy for the safety of the kids and other people on the road. Kids are always in a rush and it's mass confusion. I think that the schools need to do whatever they can to protect our kids."

Although Bryan would like to see schools close their campuses to help prevent more accidents like his, he isn't sure if a foolproof policy exists that would prevent students from leaving. "Schools can lock the campus and try to keep kids there, but they're going to find some way to get out. So many kids still manage to get off, especially at schools like Horizon. They always will."

Bryan knows that most students don't realize the danger they put themselves in when they leave. "You don't expect something like this," he says. "You don't really think, I'm going to die just leaving campus' or I'm going to get paralyzed in a car accident.'"

He wishes they would listen to him: "Don't think you're invincible," he would tell them. "Don't think that this can't or won't happen to you. Your life can change within a split second."

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Tatum Ostaff