From the editor…

Prevention not preparation

Our original intent for this issue was to focus on safety in school due to the shooting that took the lives of four innocent teens and injured seven others at Oxford High School, a mere forty-five minutes away from RHS. However, we decided to adjust some of the content in this issue in order to touch on the violence that took place here at RHS on Thursday, December 9.
It disgusts me that I have to write this right now, that we’re releasing an entire issue on this topic, but I believe that student voices need to be heard. We, as student journalists, have a duty to discuss and spread awareness on these heavy topics.
When I was conducting research for this article I found an editorial in the Wy-News March 2018 archives; it was released a month after the Parkland shooting, the staff noted that people around the country were demanding change and even compared strategies in which the government may choose to do so. It saddens me to say that nothing has changed in the state or federal government to protect us and changes in schools have been miniscule since the editorial was written three years ago.
“RHS does have sanctioned lockdown drills, but those just consist of teachers locking their doors, and the class continuing like normal. These drills give a false sense of security more than anything,” the 2018 Wy-News staff wrote.
Since the editorial was released, RHS implemented ALICE training, the number one educational program to prepare students and staff for an active shooter situation, in the 2019-2020 school year. However, since the initial implementation, we have not performed any further ALICE training, so while it was beneficial for students and staff who were in RHS at the time, it does nothing for any new staff members or underclassmen because they have not received that training.
Furthermore, I wonder if preparing us for the scenario is the best option. While it is a smart decision, shouldn’t there be a system in place to prevent students from becoming the next school shooter? I believe that identifying the culprit before they take innocent lives is the most logical decision as well as the safest. As well as changing laws to make it more difficult for people to commit these acts.
I’ve discussed this in length with several of my peers and we’ve come to the conclusion that prevention is the smartest way to keep students and staff safe, not preparation. There should be a mental health program put in place for students that have shown potential signs of violence. We should not be taught how to throw scissors and books; our teachers should not be taught that if it comes down to their lives or their students’ lives, they should choose their students. We should be taught to look for the signs of potential threats to our safety. We have 1400 students in our build and 1 social worker. How is that mental health services and how can that identify potentially dangerous students?
The violent incident that occured here on December 9 in which a student drew a knife on and injured another is unacceptable. Especially considering that the Oxford shooting occurred a week prior. I am immensely grateful for all of our RHS teachers for keeping students calm and safe throughout the hour and a half in which we were in lockdown. Our teachers did not sign up for that when they chose education as their career path; these situations are just as unfair and scary to them as it is for us.
I hope everyone values the importance of this issue just as much as we do. Change is never easy, but with as much as our generation has been through in our short lives, if anyone can demand change, it is us.