Better school security needed in light of recent tragedy

Kaitlin Mahar

The people in our country have many things that they believe should take precedence in the American legal system, whether it’s allowing gay couples to legally marry, providing healthcare to all U.S. citizens, or legalizing marijuana. While each of these issues should take some importance, there is one issue that should come before all the rest: safety in our schools.

Kaitlin - bw

On Friday, April 25, 2014, Maren Sanchez, a student at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, CT, was murdered after rejecting a boy’s invitation to prom. Her reason? She had a boyfriend. So, her killer, who had brought a knife into the high school, responded by stabbing Maren to death, after which the school went into lockdown.

Unnecessary violence has been running rampant in our school systems, yet this country has made little effort to stop it. Even after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy on December 14, 2012, many officials made promises of reform and making schools safer. Yet, there have been little to no efforts towards doing so.

I had the opportunity to speak to many local high school students about safety in schools after Maren’s death, and all of them agreed that their feelings of safety in their high schools, middle schools, and even colleges have decreased with the increasing acts of violence over the years. My sister and her friends, students at Trumbull High School in Trumbull, CT, marveled at the fact that many local high schools do not even have metal detectors. In many educational facilities, a student, or even faculty member, can literally walk into their school with a weapon, and never have anyone notice.

It should be mandatory for all schools to have security guards at assigned posts, metal detectors installed at entrances, and cameras everywhere. It’s unfortunate that students would inevitably have to lose some of their innocence in this way, but, at this point, it needs to be done. It may seem wrong to put students through all of that – some may say that doing so treats them like criminals. However, it is better to take all the precautions necessary, than for students and parents alike to think that schools, a former place of learning and safety, are now increasingly becoming one of the most common places of violence in America.

It’s a sad day when parents send their children off to school and are not absolutely sure if they’ll come back later that afternoon. It’s unfair that students have to worry about acts of violence occurring in their own schools. I understand that everyone has an issue close to his or her heart. Maybe it’s increasing safety in schools, maybe it isn’t. However, we need put our issues aside for a moment and make safety in schools our priority at this time, or else nothing will change.

While wearing a color for the victims and remembering the anniversaries may pay homage to all those affected, it doesn’t do anything to stop tragedies in the first place. Kids continue to die for no reason, and few things have been done to stop it or even prevent it in the future. A popular, albeit cheesy, saying by politicians, and pretty much all adults, is that “Children are our future.” However, if we continue to let these acts of violence go on in schools without even the slightest attempts at prevention, there won’t be many children, or future, left.