Chicago — After the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan, a question arises, again, in our communities. Are students being properly prepared for these kinds of situations?
Four students were killed and eight were injured Nov. 30. A 15-year-old boy has been charged for the nightmare and is currently in custody. A viral TikTok video surfaced the morning after the shooting of students huddled in a classroom as the alleged shooter poses as a sheriff trying to coerce them out. Thankfully the students were able to break through a window and escape.
This video shook viewers as many people began to question the safety of lockdowns.
FBI protocol states that “most active-shooter protocols contain the same advice: implement lockdown procedures, minimize the target profile and wait for the police to neutralize the situation.” It’s easy to imagine why these students begin to feel like sitting ducks. Fifty percent of school shootings have been done by current or former students of that school.
What if these protocols are teaching the next school shooter what to look for?
Sophomore Ethan Haley at St. Anne Community High School in St. Anne, Illinois, actively tries to prevent anything like this from happening in his school. Two years ago, he was sparked into becoming proactive.
“We had a scare when our school was sent some sort of threat but the school would tell us to keep the students calm. They shut everything down and locked us in. it really scared us all even though it was just a soft lockdown,” said the 16-year-old.
During the school’s lockdown his freshman year, the students were told in the event that the school had to go into a hard lockdown, students were to turn off all the lights and hide away from windows and doors.
This type of lockdown is seen very often and is most common. Of course schools have different variations as the schools themselves differ. However, it seems the same steps are taken to protect the staff and students. Lock the door, hide and hope for the best.
Haley has spent this school year joining leadership clubs like the student council in order to voice his opinion on various school related topics.
“At first I joined to try and add a football team to our school, but after the threat was sent to us, I wanted to focus on keeping our school safe instead,” he said.
He explained that the school is located in a rural area and expressed his certainty that if there were to be a shooting it would be conducted by a student at the school.
“We live pretty much in the middle of nowhere, I'm a 1,000% sure it would be a student, (who would attack the school) there isn't anyone around us anyway, who else would do it,” he asked.
He explained that protocols have started to change in response to recent shootings across the country.
“During a lockdown drill they had us barricade the doors which already felt safer than just locking it, and we were told to grab something heavy to throw at a possible intruder”
This new approach seems to be being implemented in multiple states. Rules are being updated to teach students “Run, Hide, Fight” a more defensive stance. Similarly schools are also implementing self defense classes with their physical education programs, to teach students a form of non-weaponized defense.
In fact, St. Anne’s has created a new system to focus on a psychological factor to prevent these shootings.
“You hear that all these kids shooting up their schools have horrible home lives, no friends. We should be giving the kids a way to talk about those kinds of things,” said Haley.
The student council created and helped fund the “Good Guidance System” to create an open counseling to the students. They are given the option to speak openly or privately to peer counselors.
“Who knows, the person sitting at the table next to you at lunch could be planning something scary, but maybe having a friend or talking to someone about home life could be the saving factor,” he added.