Guns & education: Students work with admin to stay safe on campus, look to future as college campus carry laws change

Weapon. Protection.

Gun safety. Gun Control.

Word choice can shape an argument and when it comes to people’s opinions on guns the debate only becomes more intense as people make decisions on how to keep students safe on campus and when and where to allow people to carry guns.

Schools are given the task of ensuring student safety on campus, but as students transition from high school to college, new laws have been passed that, some believe, will make that task more difficult.

BHS Campus Safety

“Teachers and staff are trained in lock-down procedures and campus SROs (police officers) respond to incidents and rumors based on details they receive,” assistant principal Shawn Ponzio said.

With the lock-down procedures in place students, teachers, stay alert and report anything they see or hear immediately.

“Students, teachers, and staff are the eyes and ears of our campus,” Ponzio said. “By looking out for and reporting things that do not ‘look right’ they help make this a safe place.”

With so many access points to the campus school administrators continually work to improve campus safety.

“There is limited access to the building and regularly scheduled drills,” Ponzio said. “Further improvements to our campus are also on the way to improve security like the added gates to the inner area of the campus.”

Staff members attend training on procedures the district has implemented to keep students safe and have plans in place to continually update staff members as additional procedures are implemented.

“Some of our staff members have attended Safariland training to provide options based on other school shootings across the nation,” Ponzio said. “This training stresses that you have three choices when an incident happens: Run, Hide, or Fight. Our goal is to have all staff members trained in the near future.”

Many students have been taught that the hide in corner approach is good, until the person who’s trying to harm them locates their location at which point they may need to barricade and fight back.

“It’s better to have kids out of sight of any potential predators or any potential people that will want to cause harm to them,” senior Haille Goodman said. “At the same time, that’s the kind of tactic that everyone who has been at this school knows well and has practiced and in theory it seems like it would work well but teachers should also be trained in how to defend themselves and students.”

College Campus Carry Policy

The new campus carry law allows students to bring guns on college campuses raising concerns about safety and how campus life will change.

“The conceal carry policy change is a good way to help students [feel safer] because you don’t know when a situation may to arise in which you need to protect yourself,” senior Nicholas Roman said. “It’s also very scary though because you don’t know who has a gun, and people aren’t going to tell you if they have one.”

Some students see the campus carry changes as a way to keep them safer through personal protection.

“Starting college with the campus carry policy in place doesn’t make me nervous,” senior Viviana Guerrero said. ”As a girl, I was nervous before because I was worried that someone could violate or attack me while I was walking to my dorm. For protection I was originally going to carry pepper spray, but I would feel safer carrying a firearm.”

While some students may support the right to bear arms on private property, they see campus carry as a completely separate issue.

“Even though I’m against increased gun laws, I’m also against campus carry,” senior Kayla Thane said. “I think more shooting incidents will take place on college campus whether it be accidental or intentional.”

Still, some students view people as mostly good and think the laws will not affect how people behave.

“I doubt gun violence will increase on college campus because the type of people that want to bring a gun on campus and cause harm with it intentionally would likely do so whether there was a campus carry policy or not,” Haille said. “I don’t think most people want to use a gun to harm another person.”