Sitting down with Security Guard Stan and 24 students from Superhero Club, a different perspective was gathered during a discussion about school safety. Listed below each question are opinions of several students.
Memorial School Safety: how do you feel about your school?
“Deans, security guards handle situations okay. Situations aren’t threatening, they’re just fights. And they’re handled well.”
“We’re not a dangerous school. It’s not a dangerous city. We’re not in a dangerous community. We’re not really that bad in the grand scheme of things.”
While many students expressed a short response of feeling safe, others provided explanations as to why they feel unsafe.
“I don’t feel 100% safe. When I hear doors that slam really loud, I think it’s a gunshot.”
“Most days I see only one police officer. What if someone brings in a weapon, what is that one police officer going to do and couple security guards? I believe security needs to be more aggressive and frequent checkups are needed with troubled kids… Your safety has to do with other students, how you interact with them, etc. There shouldn’t be no fighting. Period.”
Students pointed to theories of attempting to combat situations like having only police officer and couple security guards, but they put this theory into the situation of the Parkland shooting. In response, someone said, “We have to be proactive not reactive. No one knew that kid was going to go shoot up that school. But, we’re also not doctors to be able to tell whether what kids will do that or not.”
When a student’s actions are unpredictable, what are the steps that we should take as a school to prevent the devastating consequences that can occur?
If you see a person being bullied, what would you do? Would you reach out to a person starting fights (become friends with them) or let them be?
[walkaway or intervene]
“I’ve been personally bullied because I’m muslim and wear a hijab. I had a hard time reaching out to someone, but if I saw something like it, I would report it.”
As all 24 students stated that they would intervene when they see an issue, they all agreed that it would “depend on the situation.” It’s common for high school students to pull out their phones and record what they see, captivated by the sight of a fist fight or a chase down the hallway. This is a negative form of intervention. Students should be able to assess a situation by reading body language and observing. If it requires you to step in, you step in.
A few words from Security Guard Stan himself, “I work in the dean’s office, and we get 10 bullying calls a week. We’re blind to stuff like this because we see what we want to see. Bullying’s been such a problem in other schools while it not may be at Memorial. But, if they’re beginning with BB guns, what if it’s the real thing? How serious are y’all with code red drills? We don’t take those seriously.”
A student interrupted, “There aren’t enough of code red drills. Like, the last code red drill we’ve done was last semester.. Every month would be helpful.”
What can we do to make our school feel safer?
Security Guard Stan: “Gammon doors are locked till school is out. The Welcome center is open and you must scan IDs. That’s why it’s a great idea to keep your ID on you all the time. You’re 30 seconds late, you’ve still gotta have your ID. But, in 30 seconds anyone could have been shot. It’s just the little things like that.”
When metal detectors were suggested during the discussion, 2 out of 24 students felt comfortable with metal detectors and the use of wands. That’s when a students asked, “We want to know what security guards and deans will do during those situations.”
Security Guard Stan: “There’s an emergency procedure brochure that students should know more about.”
To conclude their discussion, Stan left them with, “The Parkland shooting could have been stopped, even if the shooter knew the drills and where the students were exiting. We could prevent the things that lead up to that event. Would you open up to the person sitting in the corner of the lunchroom who doesn’t talk, doesn’t wear the best clothes? We always overlook things like this. But, we can do what we have to do to make this school better.”