School Safety According To West Students


Another school shooting occurred on Friday, May 18th at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. 9 students and 1 teacher were killed.  In 2018, there have been 68 shootings in schools in the United States. Four of those shootings are considered mass shootings. According to the FBI, a mass shooting is when 5 or more people are killed or injured during a single event.

A recent survey of over 100 students at West conducted by this publication, finds that Wauwatosa West students are concerned that a school shooting could again occur at their school.  

A nationwide survey conducted by PEW research shows a variety of student opinion about school safety. We conducted our own survey in order to compare the thoughts of survey to a Wauwatosa West survey.  The Wauwatosa results are mostly similar to the results of a PEW research survey conducted in April, although there are some differences.

Overall, students at Wauwatosa West feel school is a safe place but are concerned about the changes that could help limit the possibility of a school shooting.

30% of the students said that they have a genuine concern about school safety and think about it often. In the nationwide, survey 27% of students said they had a genuine concern about school safety.  

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not constantly thinking about myself being in danger at school. But when I really think about it, it is incredibly easy for a stranger to walk in with a gun and decide to shoot students. In the morning, when we have the rush of kids coming in, they don’t check us! We don’t have badges or something to prove that we go to West. I think there needs to be more security,” Freshman Annalise Nelson said.

49.6% of students surveyed thought metal detectors  would have some effectiveness compared to the national survey where 80% of the students believe metal detectors would be effective. The difference between West and the nation is 29.4% lower.

“Knowing that we have had a shooting happen in our school in the past, and even after that happened, that we do not have any sort of metal detector system in place is very frightening. Even though we do have drills in case this sort of situation were to happen, they are not carefully thought out and it is clear that even most of the teachers do not take it seriously. While it may be a small thing, the glass doors on all of the classrooms are very unsettling, as it would be incredibly easy for a shooter to get through them and into a classroom full of students,” Wauwatosa West student said.

A ban on gun’s is also frequently talked about in the media. Mass shootings a commonly carried out using a AR15. Most Americans do not know what AR really stands for. It does not stand for assassination rifle or auto rifle. AR does not stand for “Assault Rifle” it stands for Armalite® Rifle.

They want to ban AR 15 or AR’s as a whole.The dictionary definition of an assault rifle from Merriam-Webster is “ any of various intermediate-range, magazine-fed military rifles (such as the AK-47) that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire; also : a rifle that resembles a military assault rifle but is designed to allow only semi automatic fire”.

When asked about a ban on AR style rifle would be 54.5% of the students surveyed said it would be effective as a whole. On the other side of that 33% of people surveyed said it would be ineffective. The national surveyed showed 66% of teens thought it would have effectiveness. 11.5% difference separates West from the nation, West is close to the national survey when in the context of the scale.

A possible way to limit the amount of casualties in a school shooting is to allow teachers to be armed with a concealed weapon. West was strongly against that idea with 67.7% students feel that it would be ineffective and 78.5% are against teachers concealing a weapon.   

“There are too many complications that would arise based on who would be armed, and the qualifications that they would have to meet. It would also open up specific rooms that could be targeted as ‘weak points’ because that teacher wouldn’t be armed,” Senior Joey Wehrley said.

“I think that if a teacher has the certification to conceal and carry a weapon, that they should be able to in order to protect students, in the end it can only help matters,” Senior Hunter Sutter said.

When an evacuation plan is created it is thought to be the safest. But what if it really isn’t. 58.7% of those who took the survey thought that the evacuation procedure was riddled with flaws.

“I get that there are a lot of students and you can’t change that, but every single evacuation or lockdown drill we do could be potentially dangerous. The shooter would know where the most students are hiding during lockdown, and could go after them. Fire drills could easily lead to casualties if there was a shooter because there is such a huge flow of people heading to the same spot,” Sophomore Abby Walsh wrote.

There was 1 similar trend throughout most of the responses, the large quantity of people in a single confined area.

The number one way to stop a school shooting is to report any threats you know of even if people think is just a joke. Unfortunately those who report threats do not know if anything is going to be done and that just worries them more. People also need to know about what the plan is to when something goes down.

“They could really get down on this issue, it was talked about a few times however it’s very important for students to be educated on the topic, know exits around the school, and make sure everyone is aware of things kids say and what some feel. I know a kid who wrote a whole paper on how he wanted to shoot up the school and when a teacher told administration nothing that I’m aware of was done,” Freshman Clair Jacobson said.

If you see something suspicious on line saying something in the context of shooting up a school or bringing a knife to school or such. Say something. We live in a world where people are to worried about them self and not others. Use your voice to better your community.