by Collin Burwinkel and Spencer Krumholz
On April 20, 1999, the world was changed forever at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The American public virtually silenced itself, hoping that the horrors seen there would dissolve the problem of mass murders by itself.
Unfortunately, fears were heightened after the shootings at Virginia Tech University and, more recently, at Sandy Hook elementary.
The horrific mass murder of students and teachers forced America to open its eyes to an unfortunate but relevant problem.
The only way to curb mass violence was now more glaringly obvious: to initiate some sort of firearm regulation.
The argument over gun control legislation would only grow, which once again leaves the public with a fierce debate over which direction the country should turn to.
These incidents and others left school districts and administrations pondering about the possible different investments they could make in their own security.
School officials wish to insure that their school is safe and capable of maintaining itself in the increasingly likely event of an intruder.
“The key to safety is a sense of community,” Principal Rev. Patrick Fulton, C.S.B., said. “We look out for one another and have an awareness.”
School safety is a much more broad issue than in the case of an intruder, though.
Whatever the situation may be, the school must have an action plan and be prepared for the worst.
“You can never be well trained enough,” Fulton said. “You have to balance paranoia and reality with the mission of the school as well.”
The mission of the school is to teach, not be a police academy.
Parents send their kids here to learn about math and science, not about how to deal with an armed gunman.
“However, we have to do our due diligence,” Fulton said.
This means that the administration needs to be conscientious in paying proper attention to the task at hand: security of students.
Along with the “Tom Eagle” drill, there are frequent fire drills and even staff seminars on fire extinguisher usage and important information on AEDs.
It is important to note that the school has a crisis handbook and re-looked at its policies and procedures following Sandy Hook.
Having an open campus thats accessible and safe at the same time can be tricky.
“At public school, we had police officers everywhere, but here there are no cops,” sophomore and recent transfer student from Pearland HS Isaiah Specks said.
“The environment is different here but I’m not worried at all though,” Specks said.
Indeed, the environment is unique.
The brotherhood and genuine respect that students have for each other make the campus reek of a comfortable and safe environment.
However, with such an open campus comes a possible threat.
“If a student sees someone walking in the hallway that doesn’t belong, how many would stop them?” Fulton said. “Students must be aware of their surroundings.”
Students here must take into account the people, location and environment that surrounds the campus.
Without the recognition of risk, students further their own endangerment by their individual ignorance.
Just as being out in the streets late at night can be dangerous, so too can any evinronment.
The key to staying safe is being alert, and taking precautionary measures to be so. Regardless of what the school does, students are obligated to be safe.