Safety First

After the tragedy that happened at Newtown, Conn. many are now concerned about our safety.

In the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 27 lives were taken when a gunman went on a rampage with a semi-automatic rifle. Many citizens are concerned about safety policies after the heartbreaking school shooting occurred.

People mainly worried about the policies of gun control. It’s terrible that the gunman went into the school, shot and murdered children with automatic weapons’ so accessible. Whether it was legal or on the black market crimes will still occur. Guns are made to kill or hurt, not to be some toy you use when you are angry at someone. If we want to be protected and safe from events like this, we need to take action

Some people may think, “Shawnee is too boring, and nothing happens, so I will be okay.” Well, now we can see that it can happen anywhere, even at an elementary school. That is probably what some people from Newton thought, since it was voted as one of the safest cities.

Later, on the day of the shooting, superintendent Gene Johnson posted a statement regarding the catastrophic event. He announced some of the safety and security measures of the school district. What has changed though? I already know that the school has surveillance cameras and locked entrances during school hours, but the school district should apply other rules such as a stricter visitor check-in process to protect students and teachers. When I think about it anyone can pose as a student, and hide a weapon underneath their clothing.

We need to learn from this tragic event how to more effectively prevent anything like that from happening to us. It’s good that the district enforces code red drills in case of emergencies, so we know what to do in case a situation like that ever happens.

I distinctly remember, when I was in middle school, we would have routine code red drills. During one of them, I was in my science class. After my teacher locked the door, all my classmates and I gathered in the back corner away from the door. The lights were off and the student resource officers went around trying to open the doors. During code red drills we were instructed to be quiet, but my classmates didn’t do that. We were so loud my easy-going teacher yelled, “Shut up!” at the class. Suddenly the doors flew open and the officers came in. He faced the class and said, “bang, bang.” He told the class that all of us would be dead if this were a real code red. It would be terrifying to know there was an intruder somewhere in the building.

I would not want anything like that to happen. Just looking at photos of the victims’ families crying were heart wrenching. I told myself I never wanted to feel like that or make my family feel that way. Most of all I don’t want a gun pointed at me to be the last thing I see before I die. There are too many lives out there waiting to make a difference in the world. When the school does a code red drill students need to take it seriously in case of a real threat.