SAN ANTONIO - After the Newtown school shooting last year, so many of us focused on the threat of such events at our own schools.
But there are real, everyday threats at our schools, which many parents might not think about.
News 4's Randy Beamer got an eye-opening look at some of the surprising, day-to-day challenges faced by school police officers these days at one of San Antonio's biggest schools.
"Let's go guys, second period. Come on." Chris Pacheco is trying to herd students in the courtyard of MacArthur High School into their classrooms.
He's a Northeast ISD School Police Officer and tells me a big part of his job is preventing problems just by being right in the middle of all the kids..
"I want to make sure all these students see me here."
Pacheco is one of two officers who usually patrol the halls and grounds of this high school every day. "Basically I'm out here to protect the peace."
But that's a lot easier said than done with an enrollment of about 2600, that's bigger than a lot of small towns. And they're all teenagers.
He says the age-old problem of fighting is one of the biggest they face. "And we forget that kids at this age are more likely to fight -- over anything?" I ask him. He agrees. "Over anything. Over boyfriends, ex-boyfriends."
"Just drama, generally? More hormones, more drama?" Pacheco again agrees. "Exactly."
But these days there is so much different than when many of us were in high school. And that includes the fights.
"A lot of kids, they watch UFC fighting and the wrestling these days and they want to start problems with each other," Pacheco says.
He says he can tell that UFC and wrestling does influence some of the fights he has to break up.
"There's horseplaying, then there's actual fighting. More intense, maybe a lot more punching, kicking, slamming to the ground kind of stuff. The fights are just more intense. They'll fight real quick and then it's over."
Pacheco also tells me he sees more fighting and more kids with drugs than when he was in high school. And there are some new factors behind the fights.
"I see a lot more these days. Social media is a big thing these days, such as Facebook. We have students come that come to the campus, we have problems that stem over the weekend that they bring here to school, talking about their boyfriends or girlfriends. Usually they'll fight over something from Facebook at school."
Officer Pacheco says it also seems like fewer students will try to stop those intense fights than in years past.
"I see that today a lot more of the students are just watching, not stopping... spectators."
Then again, the students aren't the only ones watching. There are cameras up all over.
"Our eyes up in the air that capture everybody coming up in this hallway. I rely on these cameras a lot here at this school for solving crimes or... just identifying students. For an example if there's a fight in the hallway and -- Who started the fight, ya know? The camera's there (to answer the question)."
But those cameras can't be everywhere, especially outside, and there are several dozen acres of school grounds to keep an eye on.
"I do a lot of foot patrol. I walk around. I have my police unit. I drive around. I have a bike, so I'm son bike patrol."
" I'll sneak up on this area here, and I'll take a peek to the left," he says.
Along the fence line behind the track, he checks for a few other problems found at most schools these days, problems including kids smoking or doing drugs, or just skipping class.
"Good. There's nobody inside here."
But down the fence line, I spot a crushed 4 Loko alcohol can. But he notices there's more to it than that.
"Check this out," Pacheco says. "You see this hole right here? And this black residue? Someobdy used this to smoke pot... as a bong."
He says he rarely sees this kind of thing, but he's not exactly surprised.
"These kids are getting smarter every day, coming up with new things and new ideas to get a high."
Then we find something else, which had to take a bit of work for someone to actually put it here.
"Wow, how are they gonna get a mattress back here, you wonder," Pacheco says.
I ask whether he thinks it was used by kids to sit on and smoke pot.
"Possibly," he says. "Or having sexual intercourse. The things you find over here it just kind of amazes me."
And as we walk back toward the school, Pacheco tells me about some other very sad problems they have to deal with these days. Often people at school are the first to find out about abuse at home.
"In the elementary schools you have child abuse, the elementary schools they see that a lot, so they're in contact with CPS a lot. High schools not so much. We deal with sexual assaults at home. Maybe a parent, or a friend of a friend or an uncle or something like that."
It's a reminder of why Pacheco's job is so important these days. But even with all of the new challenges, some things don't change.
"I like it here. I like working at a campus. I love protecting the kids."