Prepared for the Worst

Mass shootings in America, especially school shootings, averaging at least one per week, have been on the rise for many years now. We listen in shock to the devastating reality of the epidemic that is sweeping our nation.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 brought attention to the rising problem that so many people ignored.  Recently, in hopes of educating people on the signs potential mass shooters could show, Sandy Hook Promise released the video called “Evan.” This video is a part of their ‘Know the Signs Program.’  Their goal is to make people aware of the signs people who are at-risk of hurting themselves or others would show: “By knowing the signs, you have the power to intervene and get help for that person.  Your actions can save lives.”

Families of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec.14, 2012, in Newton, Conn., joined San Francisco Bay Area families of shooting victims and technology and political leaders to announce the Sandy Hook Promise Innovation Initiative, an initiative to prevent future gun violence. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

“I think we need to pay attention to our surroundings and the lives of other students more so we can do more to prevent mass shootings because usually the signs are there, we just don’t notice them,” said senior Anna Lillie after watching the video .

Although we have never had a school shooting in District 196, one question many students wonder about is what AVHS would do in case of a mass shooting in our school.

“Our number one concern, of course, is student safety at all times,” said Mr. Bolsoni, AVHS Principal. The school has prepared the teachers to handle these situations. “ “We have had training done by the AV police with our staff and we have gone over different situations with ‘active shooter’ drills to show the staff and administration how to react. We also have another intruder drill coming up.”  

The school also has protocols in place, Bolsoni noted: “We have an emergency procedure guide for the district and that also helps us to make sure that we inform the authorities and get help as soon as possible.  We have a lobby guard so that when guests come in during the day, they have to go through the lobby guard system so we know everybody coming in.”

Megan Navratil
The security desk at the front of the building.

In hopes of trying to prevent harm before it occurs, AVHS staff “are always looking out for students or community members that are showing signs of stress or mental health issues so they can try to help people who may be acting irrationally or may pose a danger or threat.”

If a terrible situation were to occur at AVHS, Bolsoni explained that the administration “would try to communicate to the building as soon as possible what they know. We have trained and asked teachers to act even before that so if they see something happening, they understand that they can take cover or move out of the building, they don’t have to wait for instruction.”

Although mass shootings are an important topic, they aren’t something to live in fear of. “We want students to always feel and be safe at school so we don’t want to alarm students or unnecessarily frighten students because this isn’t a scary place to be, it’s a welcoming and safe environment”  stated Mr. Bolsoni. “We don’t want to alarm anybody or make people think that this is something that will likely happen because it is something that will likely not happen.”