Observer Opinion: WCHS must do more to protect our students


Photo Courtesy of @mocoshow on Instagram

While some may assume we live far away from the danger of school shootings, Magruder High School faced an incident with a ghost gun just last year.

By Ryan Weiner, Editor-in-Chief

Makenna Lee Elrod. Layla Salazar. Maranda Mathis. Nevaeh Bravo. Jose Manuel Flores Jr. Xavier Lopez. Tess Marie Mata. Rojelio Torres. Ellie Amyah Garcia. Eliahna Torres. Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez. Jackie Cazares. Uziyah Garcia. Jayce Carmelo Luevanos. Maite Yuleana Rodriguez. Jailah Nicole Silguero. Irma Garcia. Eva Mireles. Amerie Jo Garza. Alexandria Anaya Rubio. Alithia Ramirez. Alexzandria Bell. Jean Kuczka. Gamaine Patrick Brown. Ebenezer Haile. Alfred Ayodele Myah. Shannon McKenzie. Imani Hill. Terron Yarbrough. Nicolas Elizalde. Jeremiah Brogden. Jamari Jackson. Shawn Dwight Tolbert. Jose David Lopez. Jahmari Rice. Jion Broomfield. Marquis Campbell.

To the average reader, those names are nothing. However, each of those people listed above was shot and killed at a school between January and October of 2022. Each of those people had mothers, fathers, siblings, uncles, aunts, or even kids that will live the rest of their lives without them. So, why are names constantly added to this list without anything changing inside schools? Why is WCHS not doing more to eliminate the problems that could lead to our students’ names being next on the list? 

While many like to think of WCHS as a safe zone, the facts tell a different story, a very sad story. According to the Government Accountability Office, our region of the United States (East Coast) had the most school shootings between 2009 and 2019 at 156. A survey by Pew Research showed that 57% of high school students worry about a shooting at their school on a day-to-day basis. Even worse, US News reported that school shooting fatalities have increased by over 500% in the past five years. 

Currently, it would not be very hard for someone with malicious intentions to come into WCHS and cause chaos and bloodshed. The unfortunate truth is that we have portables, which means that a set of doors by the portables have to be unlocked throughout the school day to allow students into the building. This means that they can be utilized by anyone to get into the building. This poses a real problem, as most school shooters are indistinguishable from the average student. According to the Washington Post, the median age of a school shooter is 16, which means that they could easily blend in with a crowd of students that is entering the building from the portables and then cause havoc inside. 

Additionally, doors this year have been casually left open by students or teachers that do not want the safety lock to kick in or are too lazy to find another way into the building. This poses an even bigger threat. Our doors are meant to be locked from the outside to force visitors, both wanted and unwanted, to go to the main office and state their business. Yet, if a door is accidentally left open this setup fails completely and could allow for a school shooter to enter the building unaccounted for.

Both of these safety problems that the school has yet to address leave WCHS ripe for a scenario in which a very dangerous person could enter the building without anyone noticing and cause major damage before a lockdown or other safety protocols are instituted. Allowing these problems to go on is completely unacceptable and violates the trust of both WCHS students and parents alike. 

Fortunately, it is not too late to keep the names of WCHS students off the list. Since they do not have the power to do much of anything to make stricter gun laws, administration must follow in the footsteps of schools everywhere from Florida to New York and make our student IDs access passes to the building. Alongside this, they must enforce the wearing of them at all times during the school day. By pushing this solution, anyone who is not a part of the WCHS community is obvious due to their lack of a building access pass and therefore cannot enter our building without going through the main office.

However, making our student IDs access passes may be expensive due to the new technology doors would have to have to make them compatible. But in the end, the safety of students should be the top priority of schools, and therefore addressed with as much money as possible. 

In addition, our school must crack down on doors being left open during class periods and lunch, regardless of the circumstance. If necessary, teachers could be stationed by the doors during lunch to confirm that doors are left closed at a time when people are constantly moving in and out of the building. While these solutions are not foolproof, they eliminate many of the factors that lead to deadly school shootings and must be adopted to keep the WCHS community safe from gun violence.