To the Editor:
School shootings have been on the rise since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Although school shootings are classified as rare, they are beginning to become more frequent. Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, there have been 68 school shootings in the span of 20 years, according to GunsAndAmerica.org.
Since the Sandy Hook shooting, local schools started adding locks to the main doors so visitors would have to be let in through a buzzer. Why are school shootings becoming more frequent?
I was a sophomore in high school when the Sandy Hook school shooting happened. I remember before the shooting that all the doors in the main entrance remained unlocked for late students to come in and get a pass from the office. Anyone could just walk in at any time. When my school switched to the buzzer method, and I was late for school, I didn’t know what to do. I remember standing at the front door, looking at the buzzer thinking “How do I work this thing?”
Keeping children safe should be a top priority. Its time to think outside the box and think inside the schools.
Locking the main doors and having the visitors ring a bell can only be so effective. Once the visitor is allowed in, the school’s policy is that all visitors must report to the office to sign in. Will the active shooter report to the office? Or will they continue with their plan?
Instead of the idea of teachers being armed in the classrooms, schools could have retired veterans and/or retired police officers stationed inside the schools at the main doors. These veterans and police officers would make sure that all visitors report to the office. The veteran and police officers would have a taser and a police-issued type firearm. While the veteran and police officer are monitoring the main doors, they would only use the taser due to being in close proximity of all the visitors coming in. The task at hand for this job would be to direct all visitors to the main office if they do not have a proper school ID card.
In the case of an active shooter, the veteran and police officer would use the firearm instead of the taser if the suspect is a far distance away to where the taser wouldn’t reach. The firearm would be used when the school is under a lockdown, whether it’s a drill or an actual situation. The veteran and police officer would have the firearm in their hands as they check the halls for the shooter.
The schools have an alert system already in place called Mutual Link. It’s a panic button on the teacher’s smartphones. They can use this when there is an active shooter in the school. It’s a free app called Rave Panic Button App. Some teachers don’t have this installed, but why? It can ensure the kids safety, and it’s free! I had the idea of installing an alert system. For example, once the teacher notices the student with the firearm, the classroom would have a button they press that would alert the veteran or police officer, along with the local police department, and tell them which room to go to. This idea would cost a lot of money to install into all of the classrooms in all of the schools. Mutual Link bypasses the dispatch system and goes straight to the police department and shows where the alert is coming from. The free app is already in place, so I feel like the school district should enforce all the teachers downloading this app in case there is an active shooter.
In the news and on social media we hear about police officers who fatally shot someone who wasn’t armed. With the veterans and police officers in the schools with tasers, no suspicious visitor would be accidentally fatally shot. People can recover from being tazed.
Retired veterans and retired police officers sometimes have a hard time finding jobs after they retire from the service. To create this new job, the school committees would need funding. To get an alert system put into place, that would require extra funding. The main focus would be getting these veterans and police officers in the schools for the children’s safety and security of being at school. But to protect the children, would this be difficult?