Students Voice Opinions At School Safety & Gun Violence Forum

Bianca Torres Hamlin

By Bianca Torres-Hamlin

On Feb. 20, 70 students gathered shoulder to shoulder in AP US government teacher Angie Cosimano’s classroom to discuss school safety with Principal Danny Little.

Little began with a brief history of gun safety and school safety in the United States, dating back to the first tragedy of gun violence: Columbine. Little explained to students that he was an assistant principal at this time and noted that tremendous measures were taken to increase student safety at school. Little elaborated that school resource officers were placed in each school as increased security measures were taken, like locking doors and developing a system of identification within the school.

“We have 54 exterior doors,” Little said. In other words, there are 54 entrances and exits for a possible threat to breach our school’s security.

Following Columbine, Little admitted that “not much changed about gun control.”

“I’m really excited to see that this topic has been taken on,” Little said.

As a principal, Little recognizes that “it shouldn’t be about politics, it should be about lives.”

Students asked Little about arming teachers as a possible method of security, which has been pushed from the right as a solution towards gun school, not gun safety in our country.

Little rejected this proposal as he said, “our role is to educate, not to be policemen.”

Sophomore Shannon Dinkler asked Little if PA would be opposed to possible student walkouts on March 14 as a demonstration against gun violence in schools, headed by the Never Again Movement, originating from students at Parkland High School — the location of the Feb.14 massacre.

Little assured students that appropriate protocol is in measure to protect students as a result of current unrest.

“As a city we are constantly looking at what we can do differently and how we can improve our practices,” Little said.

Students questioned the school’s safety protocol as well. Little pointed out that the mere presence of staff in the hall is an active method of ensuring the safety of our students.

Little also included that students are one of the biggest defenses against possible intruders. “We rely on you, telling us what you hear, telling us what you suspect.”