Opinion: If we’re not going to keep guns out of the hands of citizens, we need to keep our students educated

Feature+Photo+by%3A+Joslyn+Bowman+-+A+picture+of+the+schools+lockdown+procedures+is+plastered+on+the+%E2%80%9CCollege+Board%E2%80%9D+outside+of+the+CCC.+These+procedures+can%E2%80%99t+be+easily+found+around+the+school+and+are+only+talked+about+on+the+first+day+of+school.

Feature Photo by: Joslyn Bowman - A picture of the schools lockdown procedures is plastered on the “College Board” outside of the CCC. These procedures can’t be easily found around the school and are only talked about on the first day of school.

Joslyn Bowman, Opinion Reporter

November 2nd, 2018 6:00AM:

It was a gloomy day. We had already had two secure perimeters that week. Many students didn’t show up to school on Halloween because of a rumor that spread throughout the school of someone bringing a gun. I had to be at the airport at 12 in the afternoon that day for a soccer trip; let me go to school I told myself, I’ll have less homework. That was the worst decision that I could’ve made.

I go to school to learn, to get good grades, to prepare myself for my future. I go to school to make friends, to grow as a person, and to find my passions in life. I don’t go to school to be scared, to be worried, or to be anxious.

In our society, I don’t have a choice.

Since the devastating Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, there have been 2,384 mass shootings in America. While efforts such as March For Our Lives and other gun control movements are in order, America is in a place where guns are allowed in the hands of citizens. If this is going to be the case, we need to keep our kids safe.

A more detailed picture of Rangeview’s lockdown procedures (Bowman).

November 2nd 11:25 AM:

I was in the auditorium for leadership and the doors surrounding the room were unlocked. We had just finished discussing homecoming. I recall getting a paper saying that my ride was here to pick me up; it was time for me to go to the airport for my flight.

November 2nd 11:33 AM:

I was picking up my belongings, ready to exit the auditorium doors until I heard a shaky voice come over the intercom. It was former Principal Fay, his voice was raspy. All I remember is hearing the words “red” and “lockdown” made my heart drop.

After last year’s incident in November at Rangeview High School (RHS), a lot of questions were raised. Why did students feel unprepared? Why did it go down in the records as practice? Why is no one doing anything to fix these problems?

Last updated in 2018, APS emergency procedures guidebook requires 10 fire drills per year but only 2 lockdown drills. While it’s important for students to be prepared in the case of a fire, there hasn’t been a deadly school fire in the United States since 1958. This is due to the revamping of exits, doors, fire alarms, and sprinklers. In the past, we were able to alter our procedures for the safety of teens, so why aren’t we doing that now?

A fire alarm in one of the English classes in the new wing. Sophomore Ciara Andrew believes, “We have fire drills frequently, yet we hear about school shootings everyday, and it’s been a while since we’ve had a lockdown drill” (Bowman).

“It makes no sense to have at least one fire drill per month to teach me how to walk out of a door,”  said RHS Sophomore Ciara Andrew. “While we hear about school shootings much more on the news and it’s a larger problem, we barely have any lockdown drills.”

Not only should we have more lockdown drills, they should happen at least once in each class, as Andrew expressed, “We should have them all throughout the day so I know where to go in each classroom.”

November 2nd, 2018 11:38 AM

I texted a group-chat with my close friends, “I love you all, thank you for being the best thing that has ever happened to me.” I was crammed into a small room. Although the lights were off, the room was illuminated by people’s phones, texting their loved ones and friends in other parts of the building. I texted my mom and my sister, worried about whether they would answer because their flight for Utah would be leaving at any moment.

November 2nd, 2018 sometime in the late morning

I heard the doorknob of the room we were stuck in rattle. I turned to a friend that I’ve known for nine years now and whispered “get down.”

While occasionally practicing lockdowns, Rangeview practices other means of safety. For example, every morning we are required to show our ID to the teacher or administrator who is checking IDs for the morning.

However, it is a district wide rule for students to have IDs on at all times. When asked about this, sophomore Cece Miena stated, “I put it [her ID] in my backpack, or somewhere close to me, but I really don’t wear it.” 

Not just Miena, but most other students at Rangeview don’t wear their IDs at all times. With all due respect, how is wearing an ID going to help keep us safe? Studies show that the majority of those who might bring a weapon to school are students or former students.

While ID checks will prevent strangers from entering the building, it’s not enough to keep us safe. We need to add on additional safety procedures such as metal detectors, more lockdown drills, and informational nights to answer the questions of students and their parents.

A student’s ID sits on her desk while she does her work. Most students at Rangeview keep their IDs in their bags or near them, but many can get away without even bringing them to school (Bowman).

November 2nd, quite sometime after the lockdown started:

“Are you ok?” my phone buzzed as it got a message. By now, the tears had finally dried up and the student with the threat had been located. Regardless, the fear was still real and the memories would be one’s that were stuck in my mind forever.

November 2nd, the end of the lockdown:

We were released by class. I walked to the parking lot of King Soopers to be greeted by my aunt. She cried as she held me for a few minutes. That was fear no one should ever go through, regardless of how real the situation might be. 

Of any developed country, the United States has the weakest gun laws. While there are people protesting these laws, it doesn’t seem that there will be a change anytime soon. Thus, it’s important for there to be a change to the safety procedures not just in the APS district, but around the country.

RHS Junior Thien Ngyen says, “With tornado drills, fire drills, etc, I feel like we have all of those down, but what I’m truly worried about is the gun one…we are so ill-prepared that a death could possibly occur if a threat such as that were to happen.”

It’s not just a small population, but a large group of students here at Rangeview that feel unsafe. As a district, we need to do better.

To Principal Grosz, let’s work on listening to the voices of the students. Let’s start to have more lockdown drills, and make sure that teachers are pinpointing what to do in the case of an actual emergency. At the beginning of the year, we should have a forum in which students, staff, and family can express their concerns and ask questions. As the principal, you should not only listen to the ideas of the students, but implement them.

To Superintendent Rico Munn, I urge you to review the Aurora Public Schools safety procedures. With the ongoing threat of an intruder entering a school, we should practice more than two lockdown drills per year. As students we don’t feel safe, and we also feel as if our concerns aren’t being heard.

To America, let’s get guns out of the hands of our citizens. Let’s open up our eyes and realize that the future of America is being killed as we continue to have petty arguments over the safety of our kids. It’s simple: if we’re not going to keep guns out of the hands of citizens, we need to keep our kids educated.

To the students, we need to realize that we are the change. We need to start to advocate for better safety procedures, we need to be taught to protect ourselves. We are the young ones, and our way is forward. We need to fight for our lives and the generations that are to come after us. We must realize: we are the change.