On February 14, 2018, seventeen students and staff at Stoneham Douglas High School were killed. This is just one of the latest school shooting tragedies in schools. Schools are supposed to be a safe place. When students go to school, the worst thing they should fear is maybe a geometry test. Since the rash of shootings plaguing this country since Columbine, schools continue to change and adapt to be a safe place, but safety is a two way street.
Students want a community where they feel safe, but ironically when schools employ new methods to increase security, students are reluctant to adopt them. This year North issued ID lanyards to be worn or carried on the person at all times, but this has been met with resistance from much of the student body.
“No one is going to argue with school safety, No one is going to say, ‘I’m not wearing this because I don’t want to be safe’,” said Principal Dr. James Roscoe.
The main reason students are resistant is because they want to know that the school trusts them and cares about them before they commit to the new security measures. For some students the soft lockdown situation at the beginning of the school year created distrust because they were not given information from the school and had to rely on their peers.
“After we went into that soft lockdown that day, we were really good about letting the teachers know what was going on. We let the parents know, but in hindsight we didn’t let the students know,” said associate principal of student services Megan Licht.
The most important countermeasure at the end of the day is trust, and by building that in the school community is what can prevent dangerous situations.
“The student who doesn’t wear their ID, or says ‘I’m not doing it’. Those are the students I’m going to make a connection with and have a conversation,” Licht said. “It’s all about relationships. I told the staff this last year after Parkland. Everyone was in a state of turmoil, and I was too. You can put every little thing into play, but connecting with kids, and making sure your students feel welcome, safe, loved-that’s how you are going to reach students.”
Students want to be safe, but safety isn’t this intangible concept. To be safe, students have to follow the measures that were put into play to keep them safe. This is the first step to strengthen a community founded on trust.