Pupils discuss school Safety concerns

MADISON, Wis. – Just over a week after the Parkland, Florida, shooting security is top of mind to pupils.

“It probably disturbs everybody here but with the safety that we’ve, I believe we feel considerably more powerful,” Memorial High School junior Jordan Smith said. 

Smith and fellow pupil Keyshawn Webster are convinced in their school’s security steps,  but understand after a struggle happened only this week , requiring officers to participate, events can act quickly. 

“It’s always in the back of my mind. You don’t know what could happen. One little struggle could become a big brawl that could result in firearms and you don’t know,” Webster said.

This month, several struggles between pupils and unfounded threats made on interpersonal media have happened at schools across the Madison Metropolitan School District, for example a student who had been detained after bringing a loaded gun to La Follete High School this week.

Madison is not alone.  Colleges in Baraboo, Beloit, Waterloo, Orfordville and Verona have investigated threats since the Florida shooting.

“If there was a major crowd, I would always work to see what is happening just in case it had been among my friends. But if there’s a huge crowd, I try to get the closest security guardian or instructor merely to be sure I am safe,” Webster said.

Whether threats are plausible, SSM Health psychologist Kathleen Hipke explained the consequences can cause pupils to have stress, restlessness or make trouble focusing on school.

“It’s increasing anxiety for those kids and teens and also families of really the question of,’Am I safe?'” She said.

Hipke suggests parents and teachers speak with pupils about how they are feeling and ways to help them feel secure.

“We do not want any of our young folks to be carrying about these fears and anxieties independently and sense stranded with them,” she said. “Get a sense of what their perceptions are. Make space for queries, correct truths and when it’s possible, bring this conversation back to exactly what can you do in order to feel more healthy,” Hipke stated.

It’s important to continue to check in with students and discuss how they are feeling on a regular basis, even if they don’t introduce indications of being anxious or concerned about their security.