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School shootings are becoming increasingly common, with some chilling statistics

School shootings are becoming increasingly common, with some chilling statistics

Casey Cumberland

Casey Cumberland

School shootings are becoming increasingly common, with some chilling statistics

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With recent issues of school safety being held around the nation, students have begun to question how safe Owatonna High School is.

A school shooting is something that neither students nor teachers want to ever see happen, especially in their own community. There has been a rise in the amount of national attention drawn to the events, and they have forced schools to look into how they are keeping their students safe.

Since the start of 2018, there have been 12 school shootings that have resulted in a casualty says CNN. One of the largest being in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018, which resulted in 17 deaths of both students and staff. After the recent events around America, parents and teachers have begun to worry about the safety measures set in place at their own school. According to Politico Magazine, “There has only been a slight rise in the number of mass shootings since the mid 2000’s. Since the early 20th century, there has been a large rise in the amount of media coverage all over the world, and this has lead to increasing the spread these stories receive.”

According to a further study by Politico, mass shootings in the United States have been getting deadlier, but not more frequent. This is causing Americans to wonder how they can stay safe in this time of uneasiness. When asking Junior Emily Klecker if she thought a school shooting could happen at the OHS, she said, “I think it can happen anywhere, but I don’t want to think it is going to happen here, because that scares me.” This speaks worlds to how most students feel about this possibility of this event happening.

“I think it can happen anywhere, but I don’t want to think it is going to happen here, because that scares me.””

— Emily Klecker

There have been a variety of different solutions that have been proposed for keeping students safe around the nation. Some schools have already begun to take extra precautions such as running extra drills and preparing extra security measures. One school has even gone to the measures of installing built in smoke bombs to disorient attackers, a video by NBC inside this school.There has been a national debate to determine the best way to treat this issue, some call for more gun control, while others call for better treatment for mental health issues.

NBC News

Inside OHS

Inside Owatonna Senior High School, new security measures have already been taken into place, and they are constantly being added to the schools array of devices. When asked what some of the new features are, Assistant Principal Ms. Hollie Jeska said, “Over the last year we have new cameras – over 90 – secure entrances – which only lock and unlock doors at certain times. The district as a whole has installed a system where they can identify previous sex-offenders or parents who cannot be in contact with a student. We also, unlike a lot of schools, have two community service officers (CSO’s) and Detective Vaith as our school resource officer.” The new system is also being implemented in other schools throughout the district.

According to a survey conveyed to 100 random students at OHS by the OHS Magnet, 64% of students said they believe that the Owatonna High School is a somewhat safe place. This was interesting when compared to another question, regarding whether or not they think the school is prepared for an active shooter event, where 84% of the students surveyed believed that the school was not. To add to this survey 89% of the students who were surveyed believed that a school shooting could happen.

This is a topic that is not talked about very often in schools, which is a troubling when students feel that an event like a school shooting could happen, and they do not feel that the school is prepared for such an event. When asked if there will be any drills regarding an active shooter, Ms. Jeska said, “Our law enforcement department goes through those drills, so our preparation and things comes from them, so we work with them to see how that would look. I work with both the Police and Fire Department when setting up drills to insure that the things we are doing in our building will help support their work.”

“Our law enforcement department goes through those drills, so our preparation and things comes from them, so we work with them to see how that would look. I work with both the Police and Fire Department when setting up drills to insure that the things we are doing in our building will help support their work.””

— Mrs. Jeska

In the survey, students were also asked what OHS should do to make the school safer. Multiple times, students responded with using metal detectors, having bulletproof doors on classrooms and having more cops inside the school. This was interesting because the OHS has two community service officers and an in-school liaison officer. In fact, having three officers inside of a school in Owatonna is quite out of the norm. According to the National Association of School Resource Officers, only about 30% of schools have one part-time school resource officer during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Currently, the Owatonna Senior High School has three officers who are constantly roaming around the school. These officers are all employees of the Owatonna Police Department are employed at the school to work with students. They are another set of eyes for the school, and they are a good way for the school to be in direct contact with the Police Department.

When asked about the policies the school has for an active shooter event, Assistant Principal Ms. Jeska said, “Through our main office we have steps that we go through and who we need to contact and what that looks like. This involves letting our district office, our police department and our bus company know. Making sure that we are communicating with our outside services or supports is very important.”

With this being said, students have begun to become worried about how the school is planning to deal with these issues. Some students feel they will be “sitting ducks” if a something were to happen. Right now the school goes into lock down during the drills, leaving students immobile. During the drills, the students do not take them seriously, and it builds up anxiety for students. If the event was to actually happen, students would not be prepared for it.

Students should prepare themselves for this event, just as the school has. Be aware of the surroundings and practice how the actual event would result. If that happens, there is a much higher chance that students will make it out safe.

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About the Writer
Spencer Steckelberg, Editor-in-Chief

Spencer is a senior at Owatonna High School. This is his second year in the OHS Magnet family, and he has became the fearless leader of the team. Spencer is also involved in football, swimming, and golf. When he is not editing stories, doing relentless physical activity, or saving countless lives at the infamous River Springs Waters, he is spending time outside with friends and family. He also enjoys taking artsy pictures, and posting them on his legendary VSCO. Spencer also spends way too much time snapchatting (his snap score is nearing 1 million), and watching The Office. People say that he looks like Andy, but he would kindly decline that statement. You can add him on snap at ssbeast21, and for his amazing VSCO is spencesteck.

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