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When Tragedy Strikes

Prevention of School Shootings

Jayden Shrewsburry, Staff Writer

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No one ever expects that the unexcepted could happen to them. Their school. Their friends. Their siblings. Their teachers. Bang; then it happens. Kentucky and then in Florida. In 2018 alone, the United States has had 2 major school shooting incidents. This number is far too high, let alone to have all happened within the first two months of the new year.

With the topic of school shootings being ever-present to students as of lately, our school is taking precautionary measures to keep each, and every, student safe. ALICE is a drill that could potentially save our lives here at BEST if we are ever faced with the unexpected. The day after the Kentucky school shooting in Marshall County where 2 lives were lost and 18 were injured, our school Resource Officer, Corporal Conley, assembled each grade level to go over the strategies of ALICE.

ALICE is an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. This tactic can help us know what to do. If a student sees something that looks strange, or out of the norm, they can alert the concern to a teacher, administration, office staff or even our resource officer who can further investigate. Then, after an adult considers all possibilities, such as seriousness or threat level, we would go about locking down the school if necessary for our safety.

Using phones, or any other form of communication such as intercoms, we would be informed by the office as to what is happening and where the threat/person is located. If you were to encounter someone who had a weapon or was a threat, you would counter which means to act or distract them; however, the best thing to do would be to get out of the building. If the threat wasn’t in the general area of where you were, students, teachers and staff would evacuate the school as fast as possible and head to a pre-disclosed safe location. Using ALICE can help our school stay safe; it can prevent a fatal incident from happening to our school like it has at others.

BEST teachers Mrs. Floyd and Mr. Wills, 8th grade, have invited Corporal Conley to come into their classrooms to talk to the students on a deeper level about the seriousness of the matter. Conley suggests that “improving the home life of each child” could be one small piece of a solution to school shootings. Another aspect that could cut down on the number of incidents would be to prevent bullying.

Just weeks after our assembly, another shooting shook students and teachers around the nation.On February 14, a mass shooting took place at a high school in Parkland Florida.  It was a day just like any other. On that day, nobody at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School expected Valentine’s Day to end in tragedy. Gunman Nikolas Cruz, an expelled student of the school, walked into the 1200 building with a loaded assault rifle, went into the stairwell, and waited for the classes to dismiss into the hallway. When the time came, he stepped out of the stairs and opened gunfire. At the sound of the open gunfire, some teachers opened their doors, risking their lives to let kids in. The day ended in tragedy with 17 people killed and 16 more injured.

National news outlets and social media are still buzzing with student activists, as well as educators, speaking out against current gun laws and it’s time their voice, and ours, gets heard. We are not too young to become involved in the movement of change. At BEST, we can prevent people wanting to shoot up our school by being nice to everyone, not bullying, or cyber bullying. Some school shootings have happened because kids have been getting bullied their whole school life, and they were tired of it. Even if you’re not their friend, you can still ask them if they’re okay and be nice to them. Also, on social media, if you suspect that someone is acting very strange, then tell someone, it may be nothing, but it may also be something.

On March 14, a student walkout was held, nationwide, at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, to honor the 17 lives that were lost in the Florida shooting. Unfortunately, due to us being out on a snow day, we were unable to participate in the event but we can still get behind the movement to change gun laws and put an end to school shootings .

 

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