Safety in schools reached a new heightened awareness for some schools after the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Some schools felt the need to reevaluate their procedures in order to make their students feel a sense of protection. They could have made simple changes such as having one more safety drill each year or perhaps larger changes such as having more police officers at their school.
“After Sandy Hook, there has been an increased presence of security guards standing by the main entrance of the school,” says Jordan Kovacs, a senior at Shelton High School. “Our headmaster stands outside the school in the morning to greet us now, and there is just an overall increase in making sure people coming in and out of school are accounted for.”
Schools may have a variety of drills to prepare for unexpected situations. These can range from the basic fire drill to extensive drills for certain medical or lockdown emergencies.
“My school practices fire drills and lockdowns,” says Kelly Burns, a senior at Fairfield Warde High School. “They are the same situation every time, but the students are not told about it.”
With already busy school days, safety drills take up a lot of time out of classes, and some schools may prefer not to have drills during lunch or passing times.
“We have lockdowns and fire drills every month or two months,” says Maggie DeCapua, a junior at Stratford High School. “They are supposed to be monthly, but sometimes things get in the way.”
Some schools could take security more seriously than others. They may have several security guards or even a few police officers to handle any issues.
“We have security guards but after Sandy Hook, there were policemen for a while too,” says Kaeli Prevelige, of Easton, a junior at Joel Barlow High School in Redding.
The main goal of practicing all these drills could be to make the students and staff feel prepared when anything potentially harmful occurs. Schools can try to make students and their parents feel secure about their children attending their school every day with different types of safety procedures.
“We have practiced all types of ‘Code Red Lock Downs’ at all different times of the day, including lunch and passing in the hallway so I feel prepared for an unexpected emergency,” says Gretchen Kuhsel, of Easton, a junior at Joel Barlow High School in Redding.
Even with safety procedures, students can struggle to feel comfortable in their schools. Sandy Hook may have shaken up students and staff. Schools also may get bomb threats frequently causing students to question their school’s safety.
“My school has had a bomb threat and I did not feel safe because the school told us about it but did not do anything about it such as evacuating the building,” says Andrea Pringle, of Bridgeport, a senior at Central Magnet High School.
For some, it seems like safety in schools should be the last of teenagers’ worries with all they have on their plate. However, recent events such as the Sandy Hook shooting may have caused this to change. Drills and awareness on how to act during an emergency can resolve this issue by making students have a greater sense of safety.
Written by Esha Deshmukh, of Milford, a junior at Jonathan Law High School