Weekly Feature

2018-03-07 / Editorial

Safety, change are concerns after school shooting

Bee Editorial

The tragedy surrounding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, is being felt across the country.

Mass shootings have increased throughout the years, and people are discussing the best ways to prevent further incidents from happening. They range from doing a better job of screening individuals who are seeking weapons to calling on Congress to act on gun violence.

A National School Walkout, planned by Women’s March organizers, is scheduled for this month. It calls for a walkout of 17 minutes — one minute for each person who was killed in the Florida school shooting.

A main priority for schools is being able to keep students safe and to prepare for the possibility of an active shooter. Although it is a terrifying thought, it is important for teachers and staff to have a plan and be able to react to the situation. According to Steve Bovino, superintendent of the Ken-Ton schools, the district has specific emergency protocols and plans in place for all kinds of eventualities. One additional measure in the works was an active shooter training for Ken-Ton staff and administrators, which took place at the Town of Tonawanda Police Station on Monday.

The presentation covered topics ranging from planning and active shooter behaviors to various goals that could help in an emergency.

Police spoke about the use of cellphones, which could cause a safety issue in the midst of an incident. In today’s society, many students carry some device around with them. If a parent or friend were to call while an event is taking place, it could alert a shooter and make the situation worse, putting others in danger as well. Even if the phone is in silent mode, an active shooter may gravitate toward the buzzing sound, police said, noting that it’s recommended to not text or call. It’s also important to make sure that students find a safe room if they choose to hide and find a way to barricade the door and stay as quiet as possible.

Additionally, the Town of Tonawanda police will be conducting a risk assessment at all of the schools to ensure that safety plans and emergency protocols are as effective as possible and specifically tailored to each individual building layout and environment.

After so many lives have been taken, it’s so crucial that something be done and for safety preparedness to be a continued conversation.

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