School shootings prompt safety concerns


South’s teacher procedure booklet. Teacher’s get a copy of the different procedures for different safety events. Photo by N. Bliss


Jan. 21 marked the thirty-third anniversary of the Goddard school shooting with two other school shootings in Texas and Kentucky following hot on its heels. These events raise the question whether our school district is worried or prepared in an event of chaos. Though a situation like this has thankfully not happened at South, it still raises concern for future safety and whether students and staff are prepared.

Out of 46 kids, only one said that they did not feel safe at South. The students who feel comfortable have trust in their teachers and peers.

“There are many responsible students and teachers that know what to do if an emergency happens,” Beau Grant, 9, said.

South takes pride in offering a secure environment where students can feel safe and the comfort allows some students to not even think about what might go wrong at school. Some students choose not to think about it.

“I don’t really like to think about it, I try and stay positive,” Stephanie Ramirez, 9, said.

Teachers have helped students stay educated on the official lockdown procedure, but some students say that adding other methods would help them feel more secure.

“I believe that we should have metal detectors because it would be more safe for the students,” Paige Bonham, 12, said. “It doesn’t matter how long the lines are outside of the school or anything else because safety is much more important than convenience.”

Staff members in the district have been trained on what to do without having to rely on weapons, as the “Fight” response of the “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol that is practiced in the district. Students are taught to try and flee the scene or get covered in the best possible way, leaving the scary topics for the adults. Students should, however, always be on the lookout for signs of a possible threat to the school and the safety of the people in it.

“If people see anything suspicious or just doesn’t look right or somebody’s here that just doesn’t look like they should be here they should let an administrator know or a teacher,” James Wiggins, school resource officer, said. “Anybody that comes into the school should have a yellow visitors pass, if they don’t then you need to let somebody know.”

Staff has trust in students as much as students trust the staff members to keep them safe. To keep them accountable, students should know what to look out for to prevent it.

“Warning signs for peers to look for are changes in behavior, violent fantasies, suicidal or homicidal thoughts or statements, lack of remorse, paranoia, withdraw, an obsession with weapons and abuse of weaker peers.” Richard Bell, Human Resources Director, said.

Students and staff members have trust within each other which, in turn, offers a sense of security in our school district. Keeping educated and observant will ultimately keep South, and other Maize schools, safe and secure.

South's teacher procedure booklet. Teacher's get a copy of the different procedures for different safety events. Photo by N. Bliss

South’s teacher procedure booklet. Teachers get a copy of the different procedures for different safety events. Photo by N. Bliss