This is an excerpt from Live Well Comprehensive High School Health With Web Resource by Karen E. McConnell,Terri D. Farrar & Charles B. Corbin.
In an ideal world, your school would always be a safe place for you, your teachers and classmates would be supportive and encouraging, and your education would be nothing less than a positive experience for you. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic take on life. There have probably been times when you felt picked on or even bullied by other students. Bullying stems from a real or perceived difference in power and occurs multiple times. If you are being bullied, or if you feel threatened or unsafe in any way, you should ask a trusted adult for help.
All schools have rules and policies for keeping students safe. Students are responsible for following the rules and for alerting teachers and school staff about unsafe or dangerous situations, such as a weapon being brought to school, alcohol or drugs being used or sold, or anyone who is being bullied; it is then the teachers’ and administrators’ responsibility to enforce these rules. Schools should strive to have a safe and welcoming environment where both students and adults feel safe and supported. If you see or hear about something that makes you feel unsafe, report it to an adult. By telling an adult what you saw or heard, you can reduce the chance of injuries and unsafe situations at your school.
Schools are taking actions to do what they can to be safer and more prepared for unsafe situations. Such actions may include teaching problem solving and communication skills to students to help them handle their emotions more effectively. Schools are also working on improving school designs by building well-lit hallways that have convenient exits instead of dead-end hallways. Office areas are centrally located so they are easy to access from all locations in the building. Schools are also locking all outside doors; all visitors must enter through one main door and show identification. Visitors are given a badge to wear to let students and teachers know they have been cleared through the office. While these changes are a good start in helping keep students and teachers safe, everyone has to do their part to speak up when problems exist.
Active Shooter Situations
An active shooter is a person who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. In today’s schools, an active shooter drill is just as common as a fire drill. While there may be some variations to how you should respond to an active shooter situation, the FBI suggests you run, hide, and fight (see figure 14.2). Make sure you pay attention to what your school policy is for an active shooter and follow directions closely if ever in that situation.
If you hear of someone having a gun at school, either tell a trusted adult you know or call 911. Even if you aren’t sure whether someone actually has a gun or not, it is better to be cautious and find out the truth than to not say anything and have people get hurt. If you find a gun, call 911 so it can be safely removed from the area. Do not pick the gun up or play with it because you don’t know if it is loaded or not.