Bengals From Both Angles: At Issue – Student safety

Isabel Herrera, Staff Writer

Students are in school for a minimum of seven hours a day. Athletes and students involved in arts and extracurricular activities can be at school from 9 to 11 hours for practice, rehearsals, and game days.

Schools are a home-away-from-home; many students spend more time at school than they do at home. With the increasing number of school shootings, some school officials around the country question what precautions should be taken to protect students.

The new process A.L.I.C.E (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) has been implemented fully at all Plainfield School District 202 schools to help students and staff react in the case of an attacker.

Giving power to students and teachers by empowering them to fight back rather than sit in a designated corner puts them in the position to make decisions for themselves and possibly improve their chances of getting away safely.

Potential bullet-resistant doors and windows have also been brought into the wide-spread conversation. Although more costly compared to typical doors and windows, the economic cost is nothing standing next to the lives of children.

Not only should school officials prepare in case of an intruder, they should try to prevent attacks by paying attention to students. There should be small ratio of students to counselors to allow for regular communication with professionals.

Patterns of behavior such as lack of sleep, not conversing with others in class, and dropping grades should signal teachers to reach out. Oftentimes, teens communicate more through their actions than they do with speaking on their struggles.

And who better than peers to check on one another?

Life has no mercy for anyone, especially not teenagers. A sign of compassion may seem insignificant, but those on the receiving side will say otherwise.

In a school of thousands, it is easy to feel dauntingly invisible.

Teens should be encouraged to notice one another and make steps in communicating.

Teens should not feel like they are against the world nor should they be forced to carry life’s weight on their shoulders alone.

School officials must give students security in safety procedures and beyond the classroom.