Addressing and analyzing the new safety policies at MHS

MHS Staff

As the 2018-19 school year kicks into full gear, the hallways are once again filled with the clanking of lanyard chains and school issued IDs. However, the sea of yellow seen in years prior has now been washed away to a new wave of blue and gray in the midst of heightened security practices at MHS.

With the number of school shootings and tragic events continuing to occur in the United States, such as the Parkland, Florida shooting in February of this year, copious new systems regarding school safety have been implemented in the Massapequa school district in an effort to keep students and faculty protected at all times.

In addition to the policies introduced last school year regarding students needing to wear their lanyards and locking classroom doors at all times, the Board has decided to shake up the new school year even further with the introduction of different lanyard colors at the high school and two armed security guards outside campus.     

The new lanyard system at MHS now aligns each grade level with specific colors in order to make students more easily identifiable and to keep unwanted visitors out of the high school. While the sophomores continue to carry on the legacy of traditional yellow lanyards, all juniors now dawn light blue lanyards while the seniors flaunt gray lanyards. Each grade also has a specific background color behind their school-issued pictures on their ID to further aid in distinguishing them.

Many students feel that the lanyards won’t stop an unwanted intruder from coming in the building. However, school faculty has been very diligent in making sure that anyone entering the building has the right identification on their person.  

While some have praised some of these new initiatives, such as the lanyard system, others have responded with a considerable amount of backlash to other security issues, such as the two armed guards now patrolling the perimeters of campus.

Acting as the next chapter in the ongoing increased safety initiative at MHS, the armed guards serve the sole purpose of bordering the periphery and keeping a watch on the school from a distance. In response to heavy community backlash, the Board made it very clear that the guards would never enter the building unless there is an active shooter scenario.    

Many have argued that weapons have no right to be near the school while others argue the contrary. The effects of the shootings in Parkland, Florida and Birmingham, Alabama have changed the conversation from topics of interest to topics of direct involvement.

While weapons do pose a major threat when put into the wrong hands, arming these very select few guards was a smart choice by the district in order to progress the safety of students. Most guards here at MHS are also former police officers and other trained professionals to handle weapons. All things considered, the guards are put in place to reduce response time, which is important since every second counts in a life threatening scenario.

The alternative lanyard system also acts as another well-welcomed piece in the school safety puzzle. The risk that open campus lunch carries alone is enough to warrant these much-needed changes to the once lackluster lanyard system. In particular, the three distinct lanyard colors ensure that not only strangers, but alumni and other individuals cannot sneak into the school and wander around without being questioned. With this new system, a twenty-something year old graduate, for instance, would have a much more difficult time passing as a sophomore with a yellow lanyard around his or her neck.

Despite the distinct and eye catching new lanyard colors and the presence of weapons near campus, there are still potentially dangerous situations that can arise. Whether a student or a stranger, people with hostile intentions can unfortunately always find a way to get into the building regardless of whether a colored lanyard or armed weapon is stopping them.

Risk is unfortunately a natural part of life, but the new safety initiatives in place undoubtedly have helped MHS to head in the right direction. Massapequa should never become another statistic. Now more than over, it’s important to keep the conversation going.

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