By Gina Kim
Armed Officers and Stricter Regulation: Our Last Resort for Safety
November 8, 2017
OPINION: Shootings are on the rise. Schools have been targeted. Now is the time to take action.
Almost five years ago on a typical school day, 20 young school children waved farewell to their parents, never knowing that it would be the last they would see each other.
Dec. 14, 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
Just a few weeks ago, another massacre left 59 dead and 527 injured in Las Vegas—the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
There has been more than 1,500 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook. This year alone has seen 273.
News of shootings from across America no longer seem particularly shocking unless it is accompanied by a larger and larger number of casualties.
As massacres become more frequent in America, many are calling for the government to create stricter gun regulations.
But our leaders are deaf to these pleas, which forces citizens to take matters into their own hands.
Some buy guns in hopes of protecting against others with guns. Still, other saner people argue for tighter restrictions.
Many mass shootings have occurred on school campuses, just like Van Nuys High School. It only takes one crazed person to cause untold campus carnage.
Such a threat occurred on Oct. 15, when a student threatened to “shoot up” the school on social media. The following day, security was heightened and more armed police officers were dispatched to patrol the school. Despite this, nearly half of all students were kept home.
But rest assured, the administration and school police responded the right way and took the threat seriously.
Students were still on edge, staff members were on edge, and parents were on edge, despite a seriously beefed up police presence on campus.
You would think that such efforts would have calmed parents’ nerves, but these are the gun-crazy, violence-with-no-warning times we live in.
Armed officers patrolling schools is one way of helping to assure a safer environment.
In fact, Van Nuys High School already has two armed police officers patrolling the campus everyday.
“The school policemen are out at lunch sometimes near the flagpoles. There’s a police car parked right out in front. It’s not meant to be intrusive, they’re just here if we need them,” says Ms. Yolanda Gardea, principal.
Undoubtedly, armed police give the image of a safer environment, but how do students feel?
“I think it makes our school safer, considering our area isn’t the safest and we have multiple lockdowns throughout the year,” said Trisha Khaownimon, a student at Van Nuys High School.
Other students object to the policy.
“It’s not a necessary precaution that we need to take,” said says Renée Garcia.” We shouldn’t have armed guards or police because it may not only increase the probability of more people getting hurt, but it will also affect the school’s environment. It might be more difficult for students to trust staff members and be open with them concerning their problems. The presence of more armed guards at our school will only add to the present problem.”
But it’s nice to know that the armed police are here, and everyone has your back.
Though other schools have displayed a lack of preparation for potential shooters, Van Nuys certainly is not one.
“We have a system in place where all the gates get locked at 7:50 to 8:00, and mostly to keep people out and not the students,” said Ms. Gardea. “There is only one open entrance to the school and there’s someone sitting there all day greeting people that come in and making sure people get a visitor’s pass etc.,”
Not only that, the school has also purchased extra security personnel and on any given day ten or twelve staff members, including the policemen, walk around the premises of Van Nuys High School to ensure the safety of the students.
“This school is probably one of the safest places you can be,” the Principal added.