A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Back to School…Shootings

In the first 21 weeks of 2018 there was about 27 school shootings, meaning probably one or more shootings per week. On February 14, 2018 there was a major school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students were killed, 14 were wounded and 5 had life-threatening injuries.

The students returned to a more secure school after the summer break with automatic locking doors, more security cameras and an increased amount of security on staff. The Broward County School District made a decision last year that require students to only take clear backpacks to school but they later ended that requirement. Metal detectors have been suggested countless of time but the district is concerned about getting 3,000 students to walk through metal detectors everyday. Metal detectors already exist in other school that are located in high crime neighborhoods but students think that it feels more like a prison than an actual school.

Students at Springdale High School returned to school August 13th. During school hours, students are required wear their school ID at all times, these safe precautions also require teachers and staff to wear a yellow lanyard with their school ID, but even with the schools safety protocols that are currently put in place, do students think SHS safe?

Some think that SHS is not safe because there are so many open spaces and unlocked doors. Sophomore, Margarita Cortes, says “anyone can just walk in and out of the school from the courtyard because it’s open.”

SHS has two resource officers, Officer Cardenas and Officer Scott, some students think that the school should have more officer because just two can’t control all 2,000 students at SHS. Others think that it is not helpful to have that police officers Student, Matthew Peters, stated that no matter how many police officer there are don’t really do anything.

“The teacher are the ones who always stop the fights. They are only [officers] around for emergencies.” he stated.

When talking a subject like school safety, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the topic of guns. One students said “anyone should be allowed to have their own gun for protection” but many students can disagree with that. Others also believe that age limits should be raised and background checks should be stricter when purchasing a firearm.  

“I feel like the age limit for owning a gun should be 21 years old or older because us as young adults, we don’t know what we are doing.” said Fatima Chavez, a Junior at SHS.

According to the Gun Control Act of 1968 a licensed dealer can sell a handgun to an individual but they must be 21 years old or older while long guns can be sold to 18 year olds. The State of Florida raised the age limit for purchasing any gun to 21 but the National Rifle Association later filed a lawsuit against this change saying that it was unconstitutional.

Some students disagree with the age limit being raised because some feel the need to be protected by gun but others also believe there should be a better and more efficient to trace the guns that people own.

Some students here at Springdale don’t even see the police officer at all. For example students Daniela Escalona and Margarita Cortez said that they didn’t know that schools have SROs then they wouldn’t think Springdale had any because they don’t usually see them around.

Marjay Hignite, a psychology and history teacher at Springdale, said that having two police officer is a good amount because the students can get to connect with the officer and stop being afraid of them. She also stated that it’s less pressured for there to only be two officer.

“When you get to a school where there is one police officer there is a lot of pressure on the officer, because if they are sick or their kids are sick then they can’t stay home without feeling responsibility for their school. So it’s tough to be the only officer, so it’s nice that we have two.” she said.

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