The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Do Students Feel Safe at School? Kind Of.

Do Students Feel Safe at School? Kind Of.

Aaliyah Royster

Staff Writer

On October 6, Alexandria City High School’s King Street Campus went into lockdown due to a student on school grounds trying to enter the building with a handgun. Students and staff were instructed to lock their classroom doors and remain there until further notice. A week later, on October 14, the school went under lockdown after reports of an anonymous threat. These two incidents, as well as other events during the beginning of the school year, have raised concerns about whether students feel safe at school.

Senior Ashanti Veney-Baah, who was outside of the building at the time of the October 6 incident, said that she did not know what was happening. According to Veney-Baah, “It was kind of shocking” when she found out what was happening from a news reporter outside of the school. Sophomore Harper Travis, who was in the building at the time of the lockdown, said that she felt unsafe because of her classmates’ attitudes towards the lockdown. Travis shared that she felt people were not taking the lockdown seriously because people in her classes were walking around and the lights in the classroom were on. Although school officials have said that students and faculty were never in immediate danger, many students still felt rattled by a situation of that nature.

In addition to those incidents, the number of physical fights at school has skyrocketed. Beginning on the first day of school, students at ACHS have become witness to numerous fights that vary from “jumpings” (when a larger group of students gang up on a single student) to fights between individuals and groups of students. While the majority of students are not participating in these fights, those who do have a strong effect on the atmosphere at school. When asked if she feels unsafe at school amidst the fights, Travis said she doesn’t feel unsafe “because I’m usually not near them or involved in [the fights].” Junior Massoud Assadi says that he does feel safe at school because he has not seen any fights at school. He follows by saying, “Maybe if I had seen [the fights], I wouldn’t feel as safe as I feel now.”

Veney-Baah believes the constant fighting at school affects her learning, saying, “When a fight happens… that’s the topic of the whole entire day.” She also mentions how police cars swarming the school building during major fights are very distracting.

Student Resource Officer Argueta monitors a hallway, photo courtesy of Aaliyah Royster

Veney-Baah feels that certain parts of the school are safer than others. “I’m short,” she says, “If someone comes in here with a gun, I’m getting trampled.” She feels like the E hallway is the safest for her because there are fewer people and exits are close. 

The solution the Alexandria City School Board came up with to combat the altercations occurring at school was to temporarily reinstate school resource officers in Alexandria City High School. Student resource officers or SROs were removed from all of Alexandria City Public Schools at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, and the funding for that program was reallocated towards student mental health resources. Veney-Baah noticed that ever since SROs came back to school, there have been fewer fights. When asked if the reimplementation of SROs in school made her feel safer, Travis said that she does feel safer, “knowing there’s that extra line of security.” When asked if she had other ideas for solutions other than bringing back SROs, Veney-Baah proposed that the school should implement a program where the students that participate in fights at school are taught, for “two weeks to a month… to learn other ways to solve things without fighting.”

Featured photo courtesy of Aaliyah Royster

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