School Safety and Gun Violence: What it Means for the Smoky Community

The importance of violence and safety to the people in the building


Gloria Namgung, Editor-in-Chief

Smoky Hill is one of thousands of public high schools across the nation. This makes Smoky equally exposed to the dangers of being deemed a public high school in America.

Since the Columbine High School shooting that happened on April 20, 1999, there have been a total of 366 school shootings. With this amount, the rate of gun violence is progressively increasing in the United States presently.

“My dad, when he was in high school, he went to Columbine,” Alexis Marine (11) said, “He said that was senior ditch day so he wasn’t at the school, but he was still affected.”

More and more students and families in America are impacted by gun violence in the school setting. The Columbine High School massacre took place just half an hour away in Littleton, Colorado over twenty years ago.

“[Marine’s Dad] mom worked for the police department at the time. So she’s the one that like told him to make sure that he was okay,” Marine said, “So he was still like kind of like freaked out by it because he said like nothing like that has ever happened before.”

Because of past and recent events in school environments, Smoky has implemented procedures to avoid an incident that would put students and staff in the building in danger.

“I believe in educating the students that it’s important to keep the doors locked, being vigilant, don’t open doors and follow the safety rules,” Security Specialist Kurtiss Blount said.

Safety is a priority for students and staff. With these measures put into place, the Smoky community can feel safer walking in and out of the building day by day. Security in the school is confident that they are doing their best in their ability to maximize the well-being of the people at Smoky.

“Absolutely, because security is very good at what we do. We’ve been here for quite some time. We care,” Blount said.

Teachers are also another population in the school affected by violence when and if it occurs. Safety applies to teachers, as well as any other individual in the building.

“I’ve been in the district for 10 years now so our district, I feel take safety very, very seriously and our training around it,” Chemistry Teacher Maureen Elliot said, “But there’s always things we can learn and we always need to keep practicing because we have to know exactly what’s happening in our world and in our country, and we can’t pretend it’s not happening.”

The inevitability of situations that could take place due to gun violence is real and ongoing.

“Do we understand that there are gun safety issues in our country? Yes. And if they’re in our country, are they going to be a part of our daily lives at schools? Absolutely. There, they’re there, right? It’s a part of our society. So we have to, we have to look at it as a society, we also have to look at schools,” Elliot said.

School safety takes different meanings from different perspectives in the school. The environment in which many students and staff are everyday is a place where safety should not be thought about twice.