School Districts Take New Approach To Gun Control

Maggie Aldrich, Editor in Chief

Maybe school shootings are becoming more common, or maybe news outlets have improved since Columbine, but one thing that is becoming widely known is how deadly shootings nationwide are turning. From churches to synagogues, nightclubs to restaurants, shootings have shown a constant trend bringing concern to those who frequently attend where those trends are occurring, schools falling under that list.
While precautions vary place to place, nearly fifteen states permit the arming of firearms to teachers in schools. As a majority of these permits occur in rural areas, districts across the country that aren’t approved for this regulation are incorporating different forms of protection in the fight towards gun safety. According to CBS Philly, Blue Mountain School District in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania is arming their staff with buckets of stones in the event of a school shooting, while Detroit Free Press reports Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan has armed their staff with hockey pucks.
“People will laugh at that and say its funny, but it’s kind of part of what the ALICE training is and when you teach it some teachers are grabbing parts [of the training] and doing what they are comfortable doing [to prepare],” Andrew Amoroso, Neshaminy High School’s Resource Officer explained.
Active Shooter Training, or ALICE, is a form of training developed following the Sandy Hook shooting that prepares teachers and students for the conditions of an intruder. The acronym stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, which describes the steps teachers have to practice. While the practices of student lock downs have faced little change, teachers have developed more knowledge to prepare for safety threats by taking mandatory classes. These classes use practical methods and demonstrations to explain the barricading of doors, making use of classroom resources, and understanding ways to slow the threat down.
“I think they are working towards it and I think it will be able to get there eventually but I also think they feel like the old method of what we did like hide in a corner and cross your fingers isn’t working obviously, but to go from that to having us walk down the halls and shoot blank guns would cause a lot of anxiety for some people and parents,” Amoroso said. “But really you think about what’s going on today in these schools and though it’s a small percent it can happen anywhere and if you look where it’s happening, it’s happening in areas like this. It’s not happening in the inner city of all the violence we have.”
In addition to the extra layer of security guards Neshaminy High School has added for protection, the middle schools are also attempting to further their security. A school resource officer was recently hired to Maple Point Middle School and Carl Sandburg Middle School. Schools in the Lower Southampton district are negotiating to hire an officer to split time between Poquessing Middle School and elementary schools within the area.
“Honestly, a school shooting is not a huge worry in my mind day-to-day. I do think about the possibility and what I would do but it never impedes my main focus of learning,” said senior Josie Bursk, who played a major role in Neshaminy’s walk-out last year. “Although some people don’t have that which is part of why we need to work towards laws and restrictions that make schools safer for all people.”