Upgraded Security at UHS?
On Wednesday February 14, 2018, a 19-year-old, Nikolas Cruz, allegedly pulled a fire alarm and fired on the students and faculty of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15, killing 17 students and injuring more. Due to the recent mass shooting, University’s administrators have started shifting their daily schedules to sit at the doors of every exit/entrance of the school to check student schedules and I.D. to ensure students safety.
New policies are quickly going into effect that prevent students from being able to stay on campus during the school day while they do not have a class, regardless if they have practices/after-school events. Teachers received an email that said that they cannot keep students in their classrooms if they do not have that class during that period. A call went out to parents of University students stating that our school district has substantial and confidential safety measures in place for students and staff without disclosing any safety measures that they are implementing, following that with confirmation that the school is working with law enforcement.
Nearly 70% of mass shooters were describe as “loners” by society and 61.55% had substance abuse problems found by a study done by PacificStandard. Taking this fact in, watching students tendencies could reveal a lot. Students should take this into account since they can be the first ones to realize their fellow students acting strange or out of the normal.
“Monitoring suspicious behavior and acting on it would help,” junior Valerie Manfredi said. “This past shooting in Parkland is an example, the kid was demonstrating odd behavior that was foreshadowing a shooting but nothing was done about it.”
With a total of 18 school shootings (not mass) in the US in 2018 alone, some might say the precautionary measures taken by the school is beneficial action. 10.6% of mass shootings are in a school or university and 68.12% of school shootings are conducted by students enrolled in the school. Students will now be required to stand outside in front of the school when they do not have a class on campus unless they have a car that they can take themselves home in.
“Honestly I think it’s a step in the right direction but this type of security precautions should have been taken into action before this ever happened,” senior Anna Folsom said. “The only reason we are doing this is because it happened in Florida. But I doubt they will continue this for the rest of the year because they never stick to what they set out to do.”
Students voiced that administration does not always follow through with policies for an extended period of time, citing dress code and the white line rule, which is a worry on some minds. The Volusia County superintendent James T. Russell sought to ease student anxiety, and encouraged teachers via email, “If your student is feeling anxious or in need of support, please know that we have counseling staff that are available to meet with students and parents.” He also posted a message on the Volusia County School site.
Still, some students may think that the actions being taken by the school could be taken further.
“In my honest opinion, I don’t think checking schedules at the door is effective at all,” junior Alexis Bryant said. “A school shooter can be a student who’s already in the school. Plus, keeping students outside seems even more dangerous than having them inside.”
A trend continues on with some students where they believe that what administration is doing is ineffective because they feel there are multiple loop holes that somebody could easily get around.
“I don’t think [checking I.D. and schedules] would help because realistically if someone had a gun, they could easily get into the school or shoot through the openings in the fences,” senior Mary Boerboom said.
Overall, many students seem to be on the fence about the precautionary measures being taken by the school.
“[I think checking I.D. and schedules would help] because they are making sure everyone is a student,” sophomore Isabella Nacole said. “But no because a student could still bring a gun.”
Voicing an opinion to the school counselors about whether or not you feel safe in your school environment can make a difference. While this is a major tragedy, hopefully we can learn and work together to overcome it and prevent it from happening to not only our school but others.