There were 94 school shootings in the United States last year, according to the BBC. Almost one every three days. The facts can’t be questioned, but Boulder Valley School District is trying to treat bullet wounds with band-aids, trying to change large-scale safety issues with small, surface-level changes.
Recently, Monarch adopted a new security system that is supposed to keep us safe. The system includes cameras both inside and outside the school and a fob system where students must swipe their fob in order to enter the school. Of course, the cameras are good to investigate incidents of bullying or drug use, and the fobs might keep someone out, but the reality is, it isn’t enough.
Most days we are able to walk into school without a fob, the door held open for me by people we have never seen before in my life. Students from other schools have gotten in, and students from Monarch get into other schools. After all, what makes a Fairview student look different from a Monarch student? Nothing.
We’ve always been told to look out for a large, creepy man: trenchcoat, large case, gun, sketchy. The reality of what shooters look like is very different. The average shooter is a 17-year-old male, according to the BBC, someone who could easily blend in amongst a crowd of students. And in a school of 1,700 students, it’s difficult to know the face of each and every one.
We need a complete rethink how BVSD schools run. If we aren’t going to take the guns out of society, then we need to rethink how our schools operate in a society built upon guns. Because that’s what we have. Not a couple of gun-owners with malicious intent among a crowd of gunless people. We live in a society where one in three people own a firearm, according to NBC News. It is not surprising, therefore, that in a society of guns, we protect the guns more than we do the people.
When talking to members of the security council from Boulder Valley School District, we heard over and over again that options presented in order to better safety were “too inconvenient.”
We suggested a system where only one door is used for entrance by students and parents. We suggested a system where each student must scan their fob in order for attendance. We suggested camera surveillance happening during the day, not just at night.
But we were told those ideas were inconvenient and that there had to be a balance. A balance between what, we wanted to ask. What could possibly be equal to our safety?
Apparently, our safety isn’t worth the inconvenience. There is a price they won’t pay for our safety. It’s always sugar-coated of course, but that’s essentially what it means.
The fact is, if we really want to protect ourselves, Boulder Valley School District requires an entire culture change, not just policy change.
If we truly want to be safe, we have to take measures that aren’t convenient. Each student must be required to use their personal fob to get into the school, and have attendance must be linked to scanning your fob at the front of the school, or at the entrance of each classroom at the beginning of the period.
People say this would make the high school seem like a prison, but many office buildings have a similar policy, where each person must swipe a fob in order to get inside the building. Even colleges have a similar fob system.
By having a turnstile system, students would be able to file through the doors quickly and easily. If Disneyland filters 44,000 people into its grounds every day, we can get 1,700 people through the door.
We don’t know what the perfect solution is, but we know there are dozens that are better than what we have now.
The truth is, safety isn’t convenient. It takes time to put in place, time to operate; it takes money. So, we have to decide if our lives are worth the inconvenience.