School Shootings Safety Precautions

Zachary Zelman, Staff Writer

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On February 14th of this year, the United States experienced the deadliest high school shooting in modern history. The nature of this event has brought up a variety of questions and issues about gun control and school safety. This week, students will have several opportunities to share their feelings and make sure that they are heard. The week will begin with a moment of silence during Tuesday’s assembly, and will continue with a dress down day on Wednesday, March 14th. During this dress down day, students will be able to wear Majority Stoneman Douglas High School colors. Also on Wednesday, the school will support any and all students and faculty who wish to participate in the national school walkout. While the national time for the walkout is 10am, the school has instead set aside morning break at 10:40am as the designated time to walk out. The goal of this walkout is a gesture for the victims of the shooting and their families. In addition the school plans to make information about elected representatives and how to contact them available. There will also be voter registration forms for students who are 18 or who are nearing age 18. Students can share their condolences for the victim’s families by sending a note (contact info will be available).

As for the concerns regarding school safety, we currently follow a lockdown procedure where students are instructed to hide in place. However, other schools and universities, such as Hathaway Brown School and The Ohio State University, have moved towards a procedure called ALICE. ALICE involves students first attempting to run, then hide, and as a last resort fight the intruder. In a class discussion, one English teacher commented how our upper school campus makes the “run” aspect of ALICE a very tempting idea, as our expansive woods would allow for students to easily hide until authorities could apprehend an intruder. When asked, Dr. Daughtrey commented that we currently use the shelter in place procedure as instructed to by the state of Ohio. However, he added that the administration is currently evaluating ALICE alongside the Hunting Valley and Shaker Police Departments. It seems that the school will be moving towards ALICE in the near future.

In the meantime, it is clear that there are several measures students can take to increase school security. First, as Dr. Daughtrey has mentioned in assembly, we should not open a door for a visitor. There are signs directing all visitors to Mrs. Kalman’s desk, where she can evaluate and monitor who enters and exits the school. She knows who shouldn’t be in the school. Furthermore, students should alert a member of the faculty or administration to any concerns about developing situations. These situations may include scary comments, malicious intent, or anything that might strike a student as odd.

In the next few weeks, the school will be increasing surveillance via video cameras at entry points, in the parking lot, and around the building. While Dr. Daughtrey does acknowledge that these cameras alone will not be able to stop a shooter from entering the school, he claims that their purpose is to provide law enforcement with a view of the school if there is ever an issue. These cameras can also give a sense of where everyone is at a given moment.