Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Students need more info about safety

On May 24, one of the most publicized mass shootings occurred at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, when a gunman passed through the school’s unlocked doors and killed 19 kids and 2 teachers. 

This tragedy brought statewide attention to school safety. Following the shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott mandated that Texas schools introduce strengthened security protocols such as regular checks that outside doors are locked. As a result, LISD has introduced new safety rules for the 2022-2023 school year.

While we appreciate this focus on safety, we encourage the district to also focus on effectively communicating and enforcing these rules.

A poll of 355 students by the Marquee revealed that 86.2% students think that they know what to do in case of a shooting. But when we interviewed students about their plans, they were usually unclear and differed from the district’s instructions.

One student said that he counted on being able to run faster than other students to save his life. Another said that she would sprint into the hallways and into the parking lot. Neither acknowledged the possibility that an active shooter could be in the hallway.

This is partially because of the way that the required lockdown drills are executed. Sometimes teachers and students don’t take them seriously. Even though teachers technically fulfill their duty by turning out classroom lights and making students move into the corner of the classroom, lots of classrooms just whisper and make jokes until the lights are turned back on.

Because we are performing the drills halfway, most of us have little experience performing them as they were intended. As a result, students may not be as prepared as needed when a shooting actually happens.

The student body’s lack of a clear plan also stems from the fact that we don’t actually know the safety protocol. Each of our teachers may have a different plan in case of a shooting depending on the layout of their classroom and their proximity to the exits. But some teachers have not shared a plan, leaving students in the dark about how to navigate an emergency situation in that classroom.

LISD uses Avoid, Deny, Defend as the system for teachers to protect students in case an active shooter is in the building. Teachers are supposed to take specific steps to avoid the shooter, deny the shooter’s entrance into the classroom and finally defend kids.

The staff received an hour-long presentation about this system at the beginning of the school year, but we don’t believe that this is enough time. Teachers cannot properly prepare students for a shooting without adequate training.

The Avoid, Deny and Defend Information was also not communicated to the student body through email, assembly or announcements. We are asking for it to be taught during Marauder Time lessons. LISD should also provide teachers with handouts about its safety protocols to be taught in tandem with the lessons. While we understand that more teaching about gun violence may  upset students, we would like the topic to be treated as seriously as suicide and mental health lessons.

We know this is a difficult thing for teachers and students to talk about. However, we must face the possibility of a shooting and prepare to save our lives.

The Avoid, Deny, Defend website offers a free informative poster, as well as a video that walks viewers through scenarios they might face during a shooting. These resources would be helpful in teaching students what to do in a shooter situation.

While there is temptation to treat them like tasks that need to be done, it’s the responsibility of teachers and students to take the lockdown drills seriously. They are the district’s plan to protect us and maximize our chances of making it out of a situation.

The district is already working so hard to keep students and teachers safe. Making sure that the rules are enforced and communicated efficiently is another way to achieve this goal.

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