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The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

Are Our Schools Really Safe?

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Ethan Abrams
A long line of students in the morning during bag searches. Students have their bags ready to be checked by security staff. Photo taken on 3/25/24

News of horrific school shootings is spreading more rapidly than ever across America. This news has caused many schools, including ours, to implement safety measures such as metal detectors and resource officers that students have to clear before entering the building. These safety measures do not guarantee our safety, however. Accidents can still easily occur, making our school unsafe for students and facilities.

On Tuesday, March 5th, a student brought a gun into Lafayette High School. Another student posted a picture of the student with a weapon in a classroom on social media. It took the administration until Thursday, March 7th to discover the incident. In Dr. Liggins’ email sent to parents on March 9th, he stated, “The student’s backpack was not adequately checked by security personnel.” Days later, an investigation was conducted after the photograph surfaced on social media. The student has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school property and possession of a handgun by a minor. The security ambassador he went to on the morning of March 5th has since been fired as well.

Before last week, students and teachers argued that the security ambassadors needed to check each student’s backpack thoroughly. People’s headphones, watches, and clothes often set the metal detectors off, but the security used to do nothing and let them pass by. “There were so many times they did not even check my backpack. They just passed it through,” and “If someone wanted to bring a gun they would have known how. Everyone knows the [security agents] that don’t check [bags thoroughly] and go there,” a student commented when asked if the security staff were thorough. Another student added, “My watch set it off one time, and the [security] let me go through….”

Since the student brought this weapon to school, students have been left to question not only our security protocols but also our school admin. These policies, stricter bag searches and checking badges, should have been enforced since the beginning of the school year and not just because something happened. Since March 8th, the school has implemented changes to ensure the safety of Lafayette’s students and staff. On March 18th, 2024, Dr. Orr emailed families about the changes they are looking into for the future. In this email, it mentioned how they are looking into offering stipends to staff who want to help the lines at the metal detectors to make them more effective and efficient.

The security at Lafayette is now more carefully checking each student’s bag. “It’s definitely more safe, [after March 5th] some of the people were just passing bags through…They’ve reinforced security on the bags now,” Lucas Melynk, a concerned sophomore, stated after being asked about the morning security. These safety procedures have also taken a lot of time in the mornings, however. The lines have been out of the doors, and by the time all the students make it through the morning security, the first block has started, making them tardy.

Alessandra Montes, a sophomore, commented on the security issue, “All of the schools are doing [more thorough searches] now . Henry Clay is doing it,Frederick Douglas is doing it, but no one’s dealing with it appropriately because it’s taking longer for kids to get to class, so it’s not really working [to get students to class efficiently].” The more thorough searches are taking away from students’ limited educational time and is not a very sustainable option going forward.

When The Times asked a few teachers to share their opinions on the incident and whether or not they think schools are unsafe, many asked to remain anonymous or did not feel comfortable sharing their opinions. Teachers across the country have felt this way, and even though they have the First Amendment right of free speech, that does not stop administrators from using it against them. In the article “The Deafening Silence of Teachers” by Franchesca Warren mentions a teacher’s experience, from her perspective, and how she has encountered numerous teachers refusing to speak up about issues in their classrooms, schools, and even districts out of fear of their contracts not being renewed for the following year.

Schools should be a safe place for learning, where students can openly express themselves without fear or anxiety over what could happen. Our security and administration should have implemented these security policies much earlier. Not doing so was very unsafe and potentially dangerous. Given the massive danger of gun violence that school shootings across America have showcased, especially the recent incidents of gun violence in the Lexington community, the administration should have been more proactive in this situation than reactive. In the future, hopefully, our students, teachers, admin, and security learn from this experience and do better to prevent any situations before a school shooting happens.

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About the Contributors
Ethan Abrams
Ethan Abrams, Staff Writer
Ethan Abrams joins the Times as a staff writer and looks forward to bringing exciting stories to the public. He is a member of the Lafayette Choir, the Junior Beta Club, and the National Junior Honor Society. His interests include acting, reading, and archery. He is thrilled to be a part of the Lafayette TImes this year!
Alyssa Lucas
Alyssa Lucas, Staff Writer
Alyssa Lucas continues her era with the Lafayette Times as a Sophomore. She enjoys writing for the Times with her friends and spreading news to the school. Her writing interests are news, features, and opinions. Besides writing for the newspaper, she enjoys reading, baking, hanging out with friends, and listening to music.