PRC doing its part to ensure a safe campus, but we need to do more

Published 12:26 pm Saturday, September 10, 2022

By Jillian Haskin

A common misconception within Pearl River County is that our high school is less susceptible to being a target for devastating events. In light of the terrible tragedies in towns similar to Carriere, we need to take things more seriously and understand that no community which has experienced gun violence expected it in “their” school. Though the faculty receives special training each year, it is time that all involved buy into the fact that no school is immune to these types of threats. The “it can’t happen here” dialogue is dangerous and needs to be eviscerated, once and for all.

There are many great things about our school, but we can’t be naive enough to think that something tragic could not happen here.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Discussions which aim to stop school violence should not devolve into political arguments and name-calling. Regardless of political party and beliefs, this is a topic on which we have no choice but to come together and make the best decisions to keep everyone safe. The devil is in the details; views on the Second Amendment are not the critical factors in school safety, no matter how strong. Much more relevant are all the finer points, such as prevention plans, all of which rely on, you guessed it, funding.

“I think what this district does is probably the best,” PRCHS Assistant Principal Sam Smith said. “We have a police force, we’ve got a police officer for every campus in our district, and I think that does a lot.”

Lack of funding leads not only to a shortage of available mental-health specialists, but to a lower police presence on campuses. Despite an enrollment of 1,022, we have just two campus police officers and only one social worker. Obviously, that ratio is problematic. Such statistics show the need to prioritize safety measures when allocating school funding. Smith, no doubt, could sleep easier with more personnel at his disposal. Safety is priority number one, even more critical than new buildings.

More funding would mean more more reminders. Who knows when one bold “Doors MUST be locked” sign could be the difference in preventing something tragic?

As a student, the safety measures that should be of concern boil down to small things such as securing doors and conducting drills that intentionally make students think about what to do in the “heat-of-the-moment.” Without an emphasis on the true nature of gun violence in schools, students will continue to bypass the nature of these situations, allowing the statement “ I just didn’t think it would happen here” to remain in its redundancy

More money would mean a safer school, something everyone can agree upon.