Student to Student
With the one-month anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School having come and gone, the debate on gun control is still just as prevalent as it was when it began. Recently, Park City High School has strengthened its own safety policies, which has sparked discussions in and out of the halls and classrooms.
At Park City High School, all doors besides the main entrance are locked after each tardy bell, which forces students that are tardy to enter through the main doors. This new security and attendance policy might be a hassle in the cold weather, but will ultimately allow the main office to better monitor who is coming in and out of PCHS. To most students, this new change is an inconvenience but in reality, this change has only been made with good intentions.
"Safety versus convenience. You can’t have both. Our job is to make sure that our students are safe and sometimes that isn’t always convenient," said Park City High School Assistant Principal, Lindsay Andersen.
A school is meant to be a place of learning, trust and safety but in today’s world it seems that the true meaning of "school" is obstructed in the eyes of society because of heartless acts that have been committed by troubled individuals. Of course, change is inevitable and needs to be made within our schools, our country and in our homes if we hope to give future generations a chance at their own right to a safe education.
There has been much debate on how to keep our schools safe and if having teachers and school staff arm themselves would prevent further acts like Sandy Hook to occur. However, this too comes with its own set of "what if’s" and risks. In the US, schools have always been a gun free zone and if the government were to permit teachers and school staff members to carry firearms in schools, a fair share of new problems would come along with this proposal.
Change is obviously not going to come easily and with such a wide array of viewpoints, gradual adjustments might be the best approach with the intensity of this topic. For changes big and small to occur within our own community, compromises in all aspects and areas will have to be suffered and thoroughly discussed.
Truthfully, this debate is endless. Teachers are teachers because they are compassionate and caring towards their students and because they have the desire to instill the importance of education within those that they teach. Of course, teachers will always protect their students if need be, yet the need for a teacher to carry a weapon at school was never once in the job description.
"I feel safe at school. I wouldn’t feel safer if other staff members were to carry guns," said Park City High School Assistant Principal, Bob Edmiston.
With the support of public opinion, President Obama has launched a proposal calling for immediate action to reduce gun violence. This proposed ban on assault weapons will be a long and difficult fight in the legislative process but in the meantime we hope agreements can be reached on ways to improve mental health care and to enforce existing gun-related laws.
According to PCHS history teacher, Jim Fleming. "From the perspective of a person who likes to work around you guys (students) and that cares about schools, it’s a hard thing to talk about. It’s really bothersome to think that we live in a society where teachers feel the need to carry guns"
In an environment focused on the education and growth of our nation’s children, it is unfortunate and disheartening that in today’s society there is a need for discussion on how to keep our children safe at school. As a senior and student at Park City High School, I feel that we must do everything possible to reduce any gun violence in schools across the nation and to try to concentrate on finding better ways to ensure the safety and health of America’s students and teachers. Personally, I believe more guns is not the answer. Better education about gun safety is. Also, mental health care needs to be more readily available to those that need it.
I am confident solution will eventually be discovered, but right now America needs to focus on the bigger picture and look toward our the future.
"It’s sad that we have to have this conversation. There’s no right answer," said Edmiston.
Hopefully in due time, the Park City School District will develop more safety compromises to ensure the safety of Park City students, teachers and staff for the rest of the school year and for the years to come.
Jillian Queri is an editor for the Park City High School newspaper The Prospector. To see more of his writing and articles by other students log on to http://parkcityprospector.com/ or check them out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ParkCityProspector
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The South Summit Board of Education voted 4-1 to put a bond measure on November’s ballot asking for $87 million to build a new high school.