PHS hosts safety night for outgoing seniors


Brittany Berleman

Officer Kellie Poliquin speaks to the class of 2019.

Joann Diep, Social Media Editor

On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, PHS held its first ever Senior Safety Awareness Night. This event was first organized by social studies teacher Brittany Berleman. Believing the senior class deserved to hear one final message before they left PHS, with help from Mr. Alther and Mr. Medina, a social worker and officers from the Palatine Police Department came and shared tips for graduating pirates to stay safe.

Topics regarding safety at work, safety tips with housing, tools for safety, and others such as how to respond to college hazing and smart social media usage were covered.

The first thing Officer Kellie Poliquin stressed was for students to always be present in the moment. This means keeping phones away, and an earbud or both out. Regardless of where students are they should be aware of their surroundings and be able to notice approaching people. With 24 years of experience with the Palatine Police department, Poliquin is well acquainted with the bad guy’s perspective. Those who are distracted are exactly the types of people assailants look for as their victims. However, things such as keeping your stuff away and being mindful are simple, yet important habits people can and need to develop to prevent being victims.

Likewise, making sure to travel in groups when going places, and making an effort to park by light posts to be near well-lit areas once events ending in the evenings are over are more habits to practice. However, if disaster were ever to strike, things such as drawing attention or raising awareness in the area are the best things to do. The panic button on car keys, or even those on personal alarm keychains that can be bought can do an excellent job of scaring perpetrators away while directing others attention towards those in danger.

“One of the things that stood out to me was that you could text 911” PHS senior Soraya Elhoumaidi said.

In times when being silent is required, Poliquin shared how the police and emergency responders can be reached through text. Similarly, if a call to 911 is hung up, they will call back. Whether through text or call sending one’s address will send help on the way.

For safety at home, Poliquin revealed burglars’ common practices of dropping by in the afternoon and ringing the bell to see if people are home. Then they return later on to the houses or apartments that were free of people. If home, Poliquin advises to let whoever is knocking to know that there is someone home. Knocking back on the door, passing by, flickering lights on, or some kind of sign, preferably not revealing one’s gender, lets people know there is somebody home.

A good rule of thumb is that if service was not personally ordered, people should not open their door. For anything, or anyone. Regardless of how those at the door may appear, clipboard in hand or uniform on, they may posing as something they are not. The cops are used to skepticism from homeowners and for people’s safety, would rather have those at home dial 911 and check with the police station that those at their door are indeed real cops. Once a door is cracked open however, it can be much easier for those outside to open the door, than those inside to shut it.

When choosing housing students should be aware and assured in the choices they can make. Being conscientious of the fact that first floor units in apartments are where burglars usually hit first, of balcony windows near trees, or other factors can lead people to asking the landlords or whoever is in charge that they’d like to see alternative rooms.

Students can also conduct research with public information in looking up sex offenders in the area, or asking for police crime reports in the area they are thinking of living in.

 For social media use, students can consider posting their vacation pictures after they get back home. Captioning the post with “had a great time” so as to advertise that they are indeed home.

Besides taking steps to prevent being victims of robberies, students can make sure to notice when they or others are not feeling unwell. experiencing blackouts or feeling hungover when not drunk are clear warning signs that something is not right. Roofies, or date rate drugs can be slipped into drinks at any public place.

“The whole thing about the guys’ bathrooms always being closer than the girls’ so no man should ever have to be lurking in the vicinity of the women’s restroom was interesting” PHS senior Fidan Malikova said.

Throughout the night Officer Poliquin emphasized how knowing the ins and outs of safe habits will hopefully help trigger warning signs, help students be more aware of when something is off, and allow them to make safe decisions.