Roosevelt’s Response: What Students Think about School Safety

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Aubrey Migoski

The art classroom is more empty than usual due to the Oxford shooting.

After the tragic mass shooting at Oxford High School, students at Roosevelt are starting to think deeply about their perspectives and develop opinions regarding safety in school.
Wy-News decided to conduct a survey about student safety and opinions on Oxford, which received eighty-one responses. According to the survey, most if not all students that responded, feel a sense of emotional tension about the situation.
“When I first heard about the Oxford school shooting, I just felt numb,” junior Eliana Pettigrew said. “There has been so much violence in schools that I have almost become habituated to this kind of tragedy, and I think that is a really awful reflection on American society. This was not some shockingly isolated event.”
The survey proves that the majority of the eighty-one students feel scared, sad, and empathetic towards the Oxford community and the families of the victims. Many RHS students feel that it hits closer to home because of our proximity to Oxford.
“While I, of course, feel for my close community, every time there is a school shooting anywhere in America – because this is a very American problem – I feel for that community and I am terrified,” Pettigrew said.
Many students feel worried, paranoid, and nervous based on the overview of the survey. A few students even mentioned how their anxiety has risen since the occurrence.
“I am scared to come to school, it has made my anxiety worse and I do not feel safe,” senior Ameera Herald said.
Even though these feelings may help students be more alert, they are also affecting education and the focus of learning.
“The shooting puts a lot of things about my life into perspective,” senior Francesca Giammalva said. “It makes me feel like I need to be more cautious and aware of my surroundings. In all honesty, this event, although it did not happen to us and our community, it happened in my home state.”
The shooting happened very close to home, and students at RHS are dealing with their mental well beings differently. According to the survey, checking up on others is a very important step in the process of dealing with mental health.
“I am just making sure I spend more time with my loved ones and be there for them. You never know when your last day is on earth,” senior Sierra Chapa said.
Other precautions students can make are being updated on the news, educating others, reporting suspicious behavior, and reviewing ALICE training. Even though these are helpful tips to do as an individual, senior Joshua Tracy thinks our country needs to act on the situation as a whole.
“[These precautions] will not completely solve the problem. Sure, it will help our response if something were to happen, but we need more change on a national level to end school shootings as we saw in Oxford and so many other places around America,” Tracy said. “As a country, we need to band together to prevent gun violence from harming anyone else, especially in places where we should feel safe like schools.”
Although school should be a safe place for students, an average of 230 RHS students were absent each hour on December 1, the day after the incident due to false threats popping up through social media. That is more than a normal school day, but not tremendously. However, when the incident happened at Roosevelt on Thursday, December 9, an average of 436 students were absent each hour the following day on December 10.
“I am scared to come to school and my mom is afraid to send me to school,” sophomore Skylar VanMarter said.
According to the survey, almost 50% of students did not feel safe coming into school after the tragedy. The other half of the students still feel safe in Wyandotte’s environment.
“Although there are threats that may or may not be real, I know that I will be protected by my teachers and the Wyandotte Police Department,” Chapa said.
Increasing police officer presence, employing security, teaching a plan, securing doors, updating and practicing drills, and creating an anti-bullying group are some ideas brought up in the survey to prevent future emergencies. One student even brought up the idea of bringing in an active voice about strong gun control laws in Michigan and the United States to RHS.
Sophomore Jack Murray believes that Roosevelt needs to base these ideas on what works best for the community and not let students compare the two schools.
Students at RHS hold a lot of power, and their perspectives can change the outlook of any situation. In that case, knowing how mentally draining the situation is, the Oxford shooting can possibly prevent future incidents from occurring in other schools.