School Safety Concerns Mount After Recent Violence

Jasmine King

Co-Editor-in-Chief

Safety in schools has recently been on high alert since the increase of school shootings and shootings in the Jacksonville community. With over 62 million in budget cuts just for Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), there’s been concern on whether students are safe.

New superintendent of DCPS, Dr. Diana Greene, has many plans for schools regarding safety.

“Safety includes, unfortunately, dealing with metal detectors,” said Dr. Greene. “Whether they’re mobile ones or the standard walk through metal detectors.”

However, due to the mass of budget cuts, there’s a lack of safety assistants for DCPS which draws some concerns from students, faculty and parents. Dr. Greene has plans to meet the budget and increase school safety by applying for capital dollars for school infrastructure.

“The recent shootings that have taken place at schools have made me feel a little uncomfortable,” said Katie Goodroe, senior. “But I have faith in the administration. They will do their best to protect me and my classmates in an emergency.”

Last school year, DCPS found ten guns on campuses. This school year, Dr. Greene is putting school safety first. In July, Dr. Greene told Action News Jax that her plan was to visit all high schools in the district. This would allow her to see the layout of them and see if putting metal detectors in schools is possible and would be effective.

“We have one more school to complete,” said Dr. Greene. “At that time, we’ll know from all the principals their top three items they would like the district to address.”

Currently, the number one issue principals are relaying to Dr. Greene is an issue with visibility.

Many suggestions in making schools safer have been made nationwide.

Among some of the suggested solutions include having teachers and staff carry guns in schools.   In March 2018, Gallup released new poll results, including polls on carrying guns in schools.

According to the poll, 73 percent of U.S. teachers oppose allowing teachers and staff to carry guns on-campus.

In addition, 58 percent believe carrying guns in schools would worsen safety and only 18 percent announced they’d be willing to carry a gun within the school building.

In contrast with these results, other Gallup research showed that 42 percent of Americans supported training to arm teachers.

For Douglas Anderson, safety has always been a priority.

“They’ve added a new police officer and seem to be on top of people bringing unauthorized [materials] in school,” said Jasmine Hernandez, senior. “I feel like we’re a safe school and don’t need much improvement.”

“Kids should want to go to school to learn and feel safe,” said Goodroe. “Someday, we can achieve that feeling again.”

Although DA is a considerably safe school, many agree this isn’t the case in other high schools across Duval County.

“Schools should go over procedures on the different codes more often and teachers in every class should go over what would happen if a [shooting] took place,” said Goodroe.

“For me to educate you, you have to be in the mind frame of learning,” said Dr. Greene. “If you’re worried about your safety or worried about something happening at school, how can you be in the mind frame of learning?”

With nearly 130,000 students in the district and over 13,000 DCPS employees, Dr. Greene is trying to ensure that every person involved in schools will be safe.

“[High school] gave me the opportunity to walk across the stage and begin the rest of my life,” said Dr. Greene. “I want to ensure that every student has that opportunity.”