School Discusses the Best Way to Protect Students

School Security at NVOT

School Discusses the Best Way to Protect Students

April 20, 1999 changed American society because, for the first time, the question of school security was unclear. In the years that have followed the shooting at Columbine High School, CBS News reports that a total of 270 school shootings have occured in the United States. Unfortunately,  the reality of school shootings has become all too real for schools across America. Practiced safety measures, such as lockdown drills, are normal for both students and faculty.

USA Today reports that in 2014, 88% of American schools had written drills for school shootings, and 70% had practiced them. “Safety precautions have always been an important part of life for students, especially now,” said sophomore Madison Lopez. In an effort to protect students and teachers, mandated protocol has been enforced throughout each and every school system. Chemistry teacher Kevin Hughes stated that school security “is one more thing you have to worry about, but it’s a big thing.”

While these safety measures are just part of life for most students, teachers recall the days when all schools were safe from acts of violence, where guns, blinds, or locks were not necessary. “You never imagined it happening until after Columbine. You just never considered it,” Hughes commented.

Safety precautions here at NVOT continue to be updated. Principal Bruce Sabatini stated that “starting in September of 2013, we implemented retired law enforcement officers working at our main entrance.” This was then followed by the addition of the Lobby Guard, who requires visitors to provide their driver’s license before entering the school. Sabatini also commented that due to the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, school officials are reviewing extra precautions for NVOT’s safety.

“One example would be a system that would visually or physically alert people when a school is in lockdown,” Sabatini elaborated, or the “implementation of either retired law enforcement officers who are qualified to carry a weapon, and/or a School Resource Officer provided by the local police department.” While NVOT already has retired officers working at the school’s entrance, this additional precaution would allow officers to patrol hallways and further monitor the campus. NVOT plans to implement this idea in the upcoming school year.  

These events have also encouraged student groups to consider other school safety measures. The EMS Club, advised by Mrs. Erica Sposa, is looking to bring in a Mass Casualty Bleeding Control Kit. This kit is essentially a large bag that inside has everything “you would need for multiple patients who are bleeding…from broken glass to gunshot wounds,” Sposa explained. The kit would provide precautionary medical aid for any event in which multiple victims are bleeding, including a school shooting. “Mass casualty does not translate to school shootings,” Sposa commented, it just means “multiple patients.” The EMS club has proposed the idea to the administration and will continue to push for its implementation in NVOT. “We need to have a pragmatic view,” Sposa said, and “we always have to plan for the worst case scenario.”