Since the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, there have been over 290 school shootings, 18 in this year alone. One shooting that has gained lots of national media attention recently is the shooting that took place on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Since then, the shooting has prompted numerous conversations about mental health, school security and gun control.
“This is different because of the students at Parkland. They didn’t allow people to do nothing, [following the shooting],” said D127 Superintendent Dr. Mikkel Storaasli.
In light of the recent act of tragedy, many students and parents have been concerned about precautions in place in event of a shooting.
“We have so many precautions in place already, some that students see and some that are more internal,” said Principal Dr. James Roscoe. “Many of these concerns are student driven. We are happy and proud to say students have and will have a voice, and we appreciate the message they want to share.”
Some of the precautions at the school include the doors being locked throughout the day and leaving the front doors as the only way to enter the building. Visitors present a valid ID, and it is being scanned along with the security escort; they are given a sticker with who they are visiting and what room. Ever since North’s opening in 2004, there has been a school resource officer present every day. The district reviews its safety drills every year and updates staff on what to do in such situations.
“We make sure our students have an awareness of these drills, and although we cannot forecast every situation, we want to give them a sense of preparedness,” Roscoe said.
Recently, questions have emerged regarding the implementation of metal detectors and other heightened security measures in schools.
“We don’t want our schools to look like a prison,” Roscoe said. “We want it to be a welcoming environment, where you come to have fun and learn.”
There has been a sense of awakened seriousness in response to the increasing number of gun related violence in schools. Students in the district have had meetings with administrators about what they can do to make a change.
“The Parkland students have been so successful because they continue to talk to the right people, the important people,” Storaasli said. “They are making this a continual and powerful movement.”
As a response, a national walkout occured on March 14 to not only protest for a stricter gun control, but to remember the 17 victims of the shooting.
“The walkout to me meant that we as a school could band together to support the people who tragically lost their lives due to gun violence and that we can all agree that everyone should feel safe in public spaces, especially our own classroom,” said senior Miranda Wilson.