Adam Sebastian ‘19: We’ve all heard about the awful events from this past month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen innocent students lost their lives at such a young age. Students just like you and I. They loved sports. They dreamed of becoming lawyers. They danced at studios. They loved their families and most importantly they loved their community. Sadly, the shooter attended the school in the year prior. An individual over-stressed by the pressures of society, high school and his peers. An individual bullied, ridiculed and stereotyped.
This unnecessary gun violence echos around our beloved nation. Since January 1, 2018, eighteen gun-related instances occurred on school premises. That’s too many innocent lives taken. We can’t allow this happen anymore. We need a change. A change for students. A change for future generations. A change for our future.
A school security policy alteration seems more necessary than ever.
“Security can make a difference,” Avery Walker ‘19 said. “[We need to] provide security for our school besides locked doors. The school board needs to be in charge.”
Romeo Community Schools recently reviewed their Emergency Response Plan in order to ensure a sense of security and understanding among its students. These plans include a three level system of lockdowns: External Threat Lockdown, Immediate External Threat, and an Internal Threat Lockdown.
An External Threat Lockdown includes a worst-case scenario approach. When a threat occurs within our community, the school goes into a External Threat Lockdown. The main office will notify the entirety of the student body and faculty of the threat via the school’s InterCom system. Teachers are then required to collect student cell phones and electronic devices and proceed with daily operations.
One safety procedure comes when the intruder shows up on school grounds. This type of lockdown is called an Immediate External Threat. During an Immediate External Lockdown the student body and faculty will once again be notified via InterCom, but will be unable to continue daily operations. Each classroom teacher must scan the hallway for students and then pull them into their classroom if any are found. The procedure continues with the each classroom light turned off and once again collecting cell phones and electronic devices of the students. The teacher will gather the students and require them to move to an area of the room away from any external view while remaining absolutely silent. The procedure also states that, although unlikely, if a gunman enters the room any individual goes into “fight or flight” mode. The protocol of this type of procedure also reminds students and faculty to never open a locked door even if the lockdown seems finished. Emergency personnel and respondents will open the door when the lockdown is truly finished and safe.
An Internal Threat Lockdown follows the exact same procedure as the Immediate External Lockdown described above.
Romeo Community Schools remind all visitors that they are encouraged to not let the individual behind them into the building for safety purposes. The district discourages this practice and prefers one of its employees monitoring the entrance to allow entrance to all visitors.
Other district reminders include reminding all faculty to wear identification badges through the duration of the school day. All building visitors must wear a visitors badge permitting accessibility to the school. If you find an adult lacking identification of some sort, the office encourages you to bring it to their attention immediately.
Students and individuals nationwide continue to advocate for this change to occur. This movement towards safety begs for a catalyst.