LAKE FOREST, Ill.– With the recent shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, the necessity of school safety continues to grow. That is why Principal Holland, local police officers, psychologists, community members, and LFHS students gathered at CROYA last Thursday, May 17. Following the shooting at Stoneman Douglass High School, Clare Bradley, a junior at the high school, began to develop a school safety panel in order to have meaningful discussions within the community. These discussions open up the community to the various security measures at the school in order to assure them that the youth is safe in their hands. Beyond that, new security measures are considered, but not just locking doors and keeping unwanted guests out.
Security embodies a wide definition within high schools. What society has learned in recent months is that keeping students safe is bigger than simply enforcing more security protocols, which most definitely serves a purpose; but it also involves making a welcoming and supportive school environment. School shootings can happen anywhere and that is why valuable community members gathered to discuss creating a safe school environment.
The local police officers spoke to the rigorous training that the school resource officers go through, as well as the specific training they have in regards to the environment of Lake Forest High School. The police officers and school resource officers also spoke to the importance of suppressing bullying and the need for student upstanders. Whether it be in school or on the internet, students must stand up to bullying in order to halt the degradation of their peers, which can trigger unwarranted responses. A local psychologist from Highland Park cited the common characteristics of the emotional degradation of students while agreeing that it is often a product of social suppression.
Being an upstander is important, but it does not make certain that future bullying will be stopped. That is why students must report any suspicious activity regarding emotional outbreaks and drastic changes in behavior to a faculty member. Doing so does not mean the reported student will be dragged in by the deans, but rather faculty will offer their support and do everything they can to help the student. CROYA often times plays a pivotal role in student support both inside and outside of school.
Those at the safety panel concluded that school safety is in the hands of the students, We, as members of the school and community, must give forth our best effort in order to make Lake Forest a safe and welcoming community in which bullying is nonexistent. By doing so, overall mental health at Lake Forest is improved which stretches far beyond the day-to-day interactions. As a student of Lake Forest, I ask you, my fellow peers, to play your role in school safety by being an upstander and reporting any suspicious activity. Our current school security measures, supplemented by student awareness, greatly increases the likelihood of LFHS being a continually safe enviornment , so play your part.