Building plans modified for safety concerns

Building plans modified for safety concerns

Hello controversy, dear friend. Alas, I will try not to take as much of a polarizing stance this issue. Maybe.

The world in which we live seems out of control. Parents worry about the safety of their children all the time, but now the children have started to worry, too. We sometimes look for the best way to exit a room as soon as we enter it. In school we have learned to plan our escapes in case of an intruder. In safety drills we position ourselves as far as possible from windows, in case a shooter decides to go through the glass on doors. We learn the best way to barricade the door. We decide what to throw at an intruder if they get into the room. Adults have told us to do whatever it takes to make ourselves look dead, if the worst does happen.

In light of recent events, I have taken it upon myself to learn more about the state of the new Revere High School. The amount of glass, in particular, peaked my interest. There had been talks of large panels of glass above lockers that allow natural light into classrooms. My paranoid self instantly thought, “If there’s enough space, and someone has enough willpower, they will find a way to fit a gun through there.” I have learned that the district plans on reducing the amount of glass above rooms, which soothes some of my worries.

Superintendent Matthew Montgomery eased some of my concerns. He told me that the windows between the hallway and classrooms will be seven feet off the ground, and the doors will no longer have glass panes in them. No one will be able to see into a classroom. This news has relieved my paranoia.

Montgomery stated that after careful review, he decided to meet with small groups rather than having safety forums open to the public. Before my paranoid compatriots start arguing, I would like to let them know that he has been meeting with the school foundation, parent groups, local safety forces, and members of Homeland Security.

I feel concerned about safety for the new building, and so does Montgomery. Our school has a budget, and as much as I would love to have multiple School Resource Officers and metal detectors, we would take money away from other programs. Homeland Security evaluates any safety plans the board considers, and Montgomery said that the recent shootings “make [the school] want to raise the bar in scrutiny.” That satisfies me.

Yes, I feel worried. Yes, I feel that our school’s top priority must go to school safety. Yes, I want my peers to learn in a safe environment. Revere will listen to our concerns and work with us to find the best solutions. We need to keep in mind that the district does not wish to fight us. The world runs on compromise, even in these tumultuous times.