On February 14, 2018, a shooting broke out at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen of the staff and students were killed, and another 17 were injured. This was the deadliest high school shooting in American history, and it sparked fear and the debate of gun control, even here in Johnston County.
After the shooting, some big changes were made in our schools. We had doorbells installed with cameras, all the students were given ID’s to enter the building, and we were lectured time and time again about the security policies and what we should or should not do in order to keep our school safe. All together, the Johnston County school system spent around $980,000 on improving security at their schools. However, most people question if these security measures have been effective.
I asked a teacher here if he thinks the security measures that were taken after the shooting have been effective, and he says he does not. He stated that he only thought the ID’s would be effective in an elementary school, where very few people are coming in and out because in high school, everyone holds the door and lets more people come in, or they will run to open the door for someone they do not know. When asked what could be done to make the school safer, he said that students and teachers need to keep an eye out for anyone who looks suspicious, and that it should be enforced that students wear ID’s around their necks so it is visible who is supposed to be here.
Another idea he had was that we should have small fire extinguishers in every class. Nobody is going to think twice about an extinguisher like they would a more obvious weapon, but they could be used for physical self defense, busting windows and doors if necessary, and to spray something in a potential shooter’s face to blind or distract them while students are sent to safety. He also said he does not necessarily feel safe and secure at school, but that he does not let himself get worked up and anxious because that will not change anything.
Most of my peers who I have talked to do not feel safe in school and do not think they ever truly will. After Parkland, everyone’s attitudes and sense of security greatly shifted. Although Johnston County tried their best to improve security, most of the measures are not effective and do not make anyone feel safer. Most people also think that improving security is not going to do anything, but that we need to go to the root of the problem: gun control. Although some people have different opinions on how strict the control should be, almost everyone my age agrees something needs to be done. We can only hope people in power will start to get on board with that too, and help achieve change. Nobody should feel unsafe in a place they are at five days a week, where we used to learn math and English and science, but now learn they what to do if a shooter comes in.