By Ely Schosek
School Safety: it’s not an amusing topic to discuss but the fact of the matter is that we have to, especially in today’s society.
From Jan. 1 to July 26, there were 22 mass shootings at U.S. schools. In less than seven months, an unfathomable number of people were afflicted by the actions of a small group of people that made such a devastating decision.
No school is exempt from this horrific thought. It could happen anywhere, which is why school safety is a topic we need to discuss.
The third week in October was designated as “America’s Safe Schools Week” in 1984 by the National School Safety Center (NSSC). This year, School Safety Week officially goes from Sunday, Oct. 20 to Saturday, Oct. 26 and will be observed in schools nationwide.
The phrase “school shootings” likely triggers a few memories: Virginia Tech shooting (2007); Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012); Stoneman Douglas High School shooting (2018); and Columbine High School massacre (1999).
But of course, there are many more than just these four.
School safety is a broad topic that includes eliminating crime and violence on campus, improving discipline and increasing student attendance. A safe school environment is necessary to guarantee the well-being of all children and that they receive a quality education.
School safety also encompasses emergencies caused by natural disasters, but thankfully, Springville experiences fewer natural disasters than other areas in America. We just have to deal with quite a bit of snow!
The National School Safety Center’s goal in this agenda is to drive “key education and law enforcement policymakers, as well as students, parents and community residents, to vigorously advocate school safety,” the website states.
All schools have some form of a safety program or policies but regardless of the format, modifications and constantly required to keep everything up to date.
For students, Safety Week isn’t something that’s really looked forward to. The week may include fire drills, lockdowns, lockouts, secure the building and shelter in place and for high school students, the dreaded evacuation drill.
During the evacuation, students walk from the high school to middle school and are bused back to the high school from there. Although it gives us a reason to miss class, it is also a surprise to the students and teachers when it happens. No one’s supposed to know when it will happen. After all, you probably won’t have a heads up if and when a real emergency happens.
There are numerous organizations devoted to the topic of school safety, all of which are especially active during this week, organizing various events to raise awareness within both schools and the community itself.
Students Against Violence Everywhere or SAVE is an organization that is run by students. SAVE Promise Clubs “are a place for young people across the country to show their leadership, creativity and passion for protecting their friends, schools, and communities from violence before it happens,” according to the organization’s website. Springville does not have a SAVE Promise Club, but that isn’t to say it can’t be created.
It’s almost impossible to express the importance of school safety in words but without current precautions and programs, there’s no telling what could happen in our schools.