Parkland, 1 year later: has school security improved?

Just over a year has passed since the Parkland shooting became the deadliest school shooting in the history of the United States. While protests arose in the following months, they eventually fell back down to the status quo.

Gun control and school safety has become a hot button issue in the United States. At Wahlert, some believe school safety is not up to par. Doors are left unlocked, and alarms unarmed. It is not uncommon to find students letting unfamiliar adults into the school if they simply knock on the door. The general attitude of the student body is lethargic towards possible threats. A simple way to fix the problem of the lower doors is for students to remain vigilant. While the official policy of the school is to not let any strangers in without a visitor’s pass, many students disregard this policy, which could lead to dangerous results. Students need to realize that some people may try and enter the school without the best intentions.

Principal Ron Meyers spear-headed initiatives to improve school safety after last year’s events.

”I feel like we have made great strides as a school in this area, but I feel like there is still more room to grow,” Meyers said.

One of many fixes Wahlert enacted was to strengthen the security of the lower doors by purchasing new alarms.

“The Dubuque Racing Association really helped us to purchase the new alarms through grants.” said Meyers.

“When we gather downstairs after gym classes, we often let people in the doors even if we don’t recognize them,” said Mitchell Walz, ‘19.

“I think that is something that we could improve at as a student body.”

The student body’s general laxness can be attributed to the fact that many administrators or coaches come in after school without a visitors pass. Many visitors or coaches decline to don a visitors pass when entering after school hours.

“When we gather downstairs after gym classes, we often let people in the doors even if we don’t recognize them,” said Walz, who has had an 8th period gym class multiple times in his time at Wahlert.

“I think that the coaches who don’t follow the proper rules harm the security. When I see a stranger, I just assume that they are a coach and let them in,” said Walz.

The administration also has enacted some other safety features since last winter. Most notably, the doors remain locked much more often than before, and the lower doors are locked after 7:35 on weekday mornings. All of this contributes to helping students feel like they are learning in a safe environment.

Although it has been a few months since the last mass shooting, it is important to remember that not all people belong on campus during the school day. When in doubt, you should just follow the official policy of the school. If they don’t have a visitors pass, they should not be allowed inside. Following this policy will help improve the safety of our environment.  

The grim reality is that a day in an American high school is not nearly as safe as it should be. A school shooting should not trigger an upgrade in school security as it could be too late by then.