Students evaluate school safety

In the wake of numerous school shootings across the United States, now finally not only is learning a number one priority, but so is security and the safety of students. The school has been fortunate enough to have only had minor safety and security violations across the years, but just last year all of that changed when the real world was brought to the school’s doorstep. The act of a student bringing a semi-automatic pistol to school sent the school community into a frenzy. It was realized that these school shootings that had occurred across the US were not such a faraway threat, but in fact could strike at any moment.

Not only has gun violence proven to cause concern for the school community, but even pranks or just “poor decisions” as Principal Matt Eline states, pose a constant threat to the students in school. The fire in the E wing bathroom caused a public outcry for more security for students, and in some cases to protect students from themselves. Of course, the school could emulate metal detectors used by schools in lower income settings, or even place cameras in every crevice on the interior of the school like West Springfield High School, but Eline doesn’t believe the school is at that point. He believes the school community is much more fortified in safety than that and believes that invasion of privacy is not yet needed with the current status of security at school.

All of these events and threats set the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) school board into motion, as they instituted a mandatory “buzz in” system at all public schools in the county. The system, set on doors ranging from the main entrance, to the modular entrance, as well as the field house doors is meant to protect students from people that have no business being inside of the building.

“I think it’s a little unnecessary because if a student has a class out in the trailers it takes a significant amount of time to be buzzed back into the building just to use the bathroom,” said senior Alana Clark.

Clark offered a solution to the problem.

“If this system is to be fully functional then the security officers and administration must take care that there is always someone available to let in a student when need be.”

Other students agree with Clark and many others that the system in place may not be the most practical.

“I think it’s kind of a waste because you press it and they don’t even look or ask to see who’s buzzing it,” said freshman Rebecca Elrod.

Many students feel that not only does security take a large amount of time to answer, most of the time they fail to even ensure it’s a student buzzing in.

Clark added that she felt, “[that] Security is just strict enough, as they make sure if you need to leave that you have a pass, but also if your parent is just dropping off some school work or food they will allow you to quickly step outside.”

While these students feel security is just strict enough, they’re also critical that the door entrance system fails to live up to the job. Much of the community has wondered if the school has truly done enough to prevent another fire from being started or another weapon being brought to school. Is the system in place now able to ensure that other threats plaguing our nation stay far away from the school community? The school community wants to take action now to avoid any further security and safety threats, and also urge the county to be willing to devote as much time and money needed to provide students with an even safer learning environment than retained right now.