Banding Together Against Gun Violence
News headlines appear daily, bearing the news of yet another mass shooting, of yet another school that must now mourn the loss of its students and faculty, of yet another family forever marred by the atrocity of gun violence in the United States. In 2023 alone, there have been over 190 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. These mass shootings have led to 248 deaths and 744 injuries in 2023 alone, with death by gun violence becoming the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States, according to kff.org. With these rapidly rising numbers, every family is left to grapple with the question of whether or not to send their children to school— and risk the possibility of having them never come home.
Fortunately for SI students, numerous safety measures have been taken to prevent such a tragedy from occurring at our school. In 2014, SI made a concerted effort to expand its security team and protocol by hiring Ms. McFarland, who has taken charge in developing these new security measures at SI.
One of these developments includes the implementation of an access control system, which places devices on doors that unlock at the scan of a badge, can lock and unlock on a schedule, and can lock on command in the case of an emergency where the school must go into lockdown. Ms. McFarland also explained how in recent years, this control system has also been added onto interior doors, such as the ones leading into the school from the courtyard and gym foyers. These doors lock immediately at 9:01 every morning from the outside, meaning any student that arrives at school late or leaves campus must return through the main entrance of the building.
Though these measures have frustrated some students, they are necessary to ensure the safety of everyone at SI. Junior Cece Hammond agreed, saying that “While it would be fun to go off-campus during [my] resource and it can be inconvenient to have to go through the main entrance when I’m late, I understand it’s important to implement campus safety measures now more than ever.”
When visitors to the school check in at the main entrance they are automatically checked against the national sex offender database, and SI is currently working towards developing a database to check against visitors’ criminal history.
In spite of SI’s many security measures against possible intruders, much of keeping our school safe comes down to the students. Ms. McFarland urged students to “know what they can contribute to keeping our campus safe. Students shouldn’t let anyone into the building, don’t prop doors open, don’t wear hats or hoods, and secure your belongings.”
In response to this, junior Angelica Chu said “The talk at the beginning of the year regarding school safety was helpful but I forgot most of what it was because it was never repeated. I appreciate all the posters we see in the halls reminding us of what to do, but again, without reminders it can easily be forgotten about what we need to do if an actual school shooting happens.”
Each student attends an orientation on school safety at the beginning of the year, but to truly ensure that every student knows what to do in the event of an emergency, or on a regular school day, perhaps we need more frequent reminders.
Ultimately, SI’s security measures can only go so far if students refuse to comply with them. Obeying SI’s rules, while inconvenient and restricting at times, are only in place to protect the entire school population. If we hope to prevent a school shooting or other intrusion from occurring, we must work as a school—together.
Megan Stecher '24 is a Vol. 71 Editor-in-Chief