Working Together - Making Our School Safe

Working Together - Making Our Schools Safe
Posted on 03/14/2018
Dr. Templeton

On February 14, our nation was shocked by another violent attack on innocent students who were going about a typical day at school. The possibility that they would soon be under fire from a former schoolmate was certainly the last thing any student expected that day. Seventeen more people lost their lives in a mass shooting on American soil, fourteen students and three staff members. There were sixteen others who were wounded or injured during the attack. Unfortunately, it seems an all too familiar story with similar plots, similar characters and similar outcomes. A young man, who didn’t quite fit societal norms, gets his hands on a semi-automatic rifle and seeks to exact some revenge on society by carrying out a vicious attack against anyone within range. After a school shooting, there is a question that we all ask ourselves: Could this happen at our school?

I would love to be able to state that it’s not possible for a violent act to occur at any school within the Mexico Public School District, but that would not be true, nor realistic. In fact, no public place is immune to the threat of violence. Churches have been attacked, movie theaters, concerts, schools, the list goes on. This knowledge, if we dwell on it, gives us much reason to be afraid. Fear is a primal and powerful emotion, but we must keep our wits about us and act appropriately to keep ourselves safe without sacrificing our peace of mind. The facts suggest that schools are safer now than perhaps any time in history. We are better prepared to protect students against an unthinkable attack than we were five years ago, ten years ago and beyond. A recent study out of Northeastern University by James Fox and Emma Fridal states that schools are safer now than they were in the 90’s and school shootings are not more common than they used to be. While the data supports their assertion, it is difficult for us to accept due to all the media attention and rhetoric from those hoping to achieve a political leg up over the competing party or opponents. Despite the fact that schools are safer than ever, we must continually strive to lessen our exposure to threats.   

At Mexico Public Schools we are fortunate to have a great partnership with Mexico Public Safety, who partner to provide two School Resource Officers, as well as, the Audrain County Sheriff’s office and the local Juvenile office. We have well trained administrators, counselors, teachers and staff members who are diligent in our commitment to safety and identifying students who are experiencing difficulties. We have secure entries at all of our schools and we are continually expanding our security measures to ensure that we protect those who come to us to learn. The schools have instilled in our students their responsibility to report any and all threats to school personnel. Students are taught; if you see something, say something and if you hear something, say something. Our best defense is the eyes and ears of the community. Make no mistake, we will continue to ask ourselves how we can better ensure the safety of every single person who walks our halls. We will ask that question whether there is a news story that makes it a necessity or whether it's just time to review our safety plans. As a parent of students who attend Mexico 59, I feel confident that our schools are safe and will continue to become safer through diligence and understanding.