By Alexandrianna De La Cerda
Where are the exits?” “What’s around me that I can use as a shield or weapon?” “What’s that man doing over there? Gosh, he looks upset. I hope he’s not armed.”
These are some of the thoughts that race through my head the moment I step onto campus everyday. On the drive to school, my mind is preoccupied not with my math test in the morning, but with the terrifying thought that I might not be able to see a drive back home.
As teenagers, we have enough stress placed on ourselves already with academics, sports, extracurriculars and more. But with the prominence of school shootings in America, many students are now under the additional stress of having to worry for their own safety.
It may seem like a dark topic to bring up with friends, family, and teachers, but having a plan, just in case, will be useful. In an ideal world, stricter gun control would deem active shooter drills in schools as less necessary. However, until that happens, it is better to be prepared for the worst.
If at any time the school should go on lockdown due to an active shooter, be sure to follow these procedures: run, hide, fight. If the intruder is on the other side of campus from where you are located, it is in your best interest to run off the campus with other students, under the supervision of a staff member, safely and quickly. It is much safer to vacate the area, if possible, than to hide and wait for the intruder to make his or her way down to your area.
If the intruder is near your area, hiding is your best option. If you are not in class, safely enter the nearest open building or room. Block all doors and entrances, stay away from windows or any glass, and turn off light sources. Do not make any noise or start a commotion, since the last thing you would want is for attention to be drawn to you. Hide in places where you are not visible and most importantly, covered by an object that is sturdy enough to block or slow down bullets. In life or death situations, quick and strategic thinking is crucial. Create a quick plan with the class in case the intruder were to enter.
The very last resort is to fight back with your classmates. This can be very dangerous because some people may be risking their lives to save more than what would be taken. Being smart and quick on your feet is important, but you must be committed to your actions with no hesitation. It is a life or death decision, sadly, but fighting is sacrificing for the greater good.
Granada Hills Charter (GHC) has had a reliable security and safety system long before the Parkland incident. To help curb fear, students should remember that GHC has daily weapon searches, a visitor system which non-GHC students or adults must go through, and randomized drug dog searches, where dogs can also sniff out gunpowder in addition to illicit drugs.
In addition, all staff and administration have gone through a training seminar last October to be prepared in case a shooting were to occur on campus.
“Communication between the staff and students is creating a culture about being open. If they have concerns about anyone who has a possible mental health issue and could be become a threat to individuals, they inform us. We take this and get people the help they need. The culture is going to be the number one preventative tool. Creating that culture of safety, in my opinion, is the number one step,” head of security and events Mike Panman said.
Mass shootings have implemented fear in almost every person. Every day, no matter where one may go, we worry that today may be our last. It is not right for anyone to be living in fear, but for now being prepared may take a bit of stress off of our shoulders.
“Anywhere you go, take safety into consideration. There are a lot of people who get into fatal car accidents daily, and we still drive every day. What I am trying to say is, do not let it take over your life,” Panman said.