Point/Counterpoint: School Safety in the Post-Parkland Era; For

Daniela Christian, Freshman, Staff Reporter

In the first 16 weeks of 2018, according to CNN, there were 20 school shooting incidents, ranging from mere accidents to multiple homicides. Unfortunately, according to a study at Harvard University, the number of school shootings has tripled since Sandy Hook in 2012. Not surprisingly, with this rise in school violence, student anxiety has been on the rise as well. While some feel that the answer to the problem lies in legislation that addresses gun regulation, Congress moves painfully slowly, and the long wait for congressional action cannot help address students’ imminent fears. Issues addressing school safety must begin at the local level.

So, while student activists addressed the issue of gun regulation through walkouts and marches after the Parkland shooting, to its credit, PMHS also scrutinized aspects of its own security measures. PMHS invested in new security cameras that were installed in areas that previously were unsupervised, and hall monitors are now required to buzz in students from the outside, verifying students’ identities by looking through the security camera feed. However, the security guards are required to allow all people who have any claim to relation of a student in because of the PMHS open campus rule. This seemingly makes aspects of the new security measures redundant.

Some schools have addressed this issue by requiring visitors to stay in a waiting area until they can be escorted to where they need to go. This might be an additional piece of the security puzzle that PMHS might add to the mix.

This new buzzer system is a step in the right direction for security measures, but there are still operating errors, as the technology department in PMHS is still working on creating a louder buzzing sound, and better positioning of cameras.

Additionally, devices such as a JustinCase, which is a student designed device that locks school doors from the bottom of the entryway, can further assure that classroom doors will not even crack open when the door lock is shot at, thus insuring that the handle lock meets school standards, and that the students are safe. Although these locks are expensive, they would decrease the chance of a shooter getting into a room by over 90%, according to CNN.

Investigating additional measures is certainly quicker than waiting for Congress to take action, and more practical than some measures being proposed, like arming teachers with guns or, as was proposed by Millcreek Township School District in Pennsylvania, handing out miniature wooden baseball bats.

By adding these new security measures, and investigating others, PMHS can be proactive in helping students deal feel safe in their own school.

I’m not sure about the miniature bat option though. Even if Millcreek Township Superintendent William Hall says they “can be used as a tool against an active shooter,” I think the idea is a swing and a miss.