School Safety


School safety has become a very pressing and much-debated topic among all schools in America. Is it really overrated? Does it deserve all the real estate it gets in the daily news section? Or it is just a lot of hype? Let’s find out what the reasons are.

Access to guns has been a big driver for this. For instance, look at the shooting that happened in Marshall County, Kentucky in January 2018, or the school shooting in California, in November 2017.  That’s just two incidents over the last 3 months, and there have been over 142 school shootings in the United States since 2013 according to a survey created by Evertown. More interestingly, over half of the identified shootings took place at K-12 schools, and 47 percent took place on college or university campuses. This is reason enough for school safety to be given the importance it deserves and is clearly not just another overrated topic.

Jonah Malinger (7) is concerned about the safety for himself and his peers.

“School safety has become a very significant topic in the last couple of years,” Malinger said. “As a student, I am I would like to know what I can do in order to keep my school safe. Based on my knowledge, I think the way students can keep their school safe is by not putting any of their personal information on social media forums.”

Austin Police Department (APD) Officer Pope (our SRO) ensures school safety at school for Round Rock ISD. When asked for his opinion on what have been the some of the biggest challenges in security that American public schools face, he said

“Interacting on social media forums like Snapchat, Instagram, and Musically are making schools dangerous,” Officer Pope said. “It is not safe for students to put their private information on these forums. A dangerous person with an ill intent can become friends with the student and might cause harm to the student and his or her peers at school. Social media is also a huge problem outside the classroom and at home.”

Officer Pope further cautioned parents.

“Parents should monitor their child’s social media accounts and their friends or followers on social media to ensure there is no threat to the student. The districts are doing their part by raising awareness about cyber safety, putting a security director in charge for the district’s safety, having SRO’s on site, and practicing lockdown, fire, and extreme weather drills.”

What are SROs? Well, SRO is an acronym for School Resource Officer. SROs are sworn law enforcement officers who are responsible for providing security and crime prevention services in schools in parts of the United States and Canada.

Another major issue causing safety in schools is that the lives of millions of children are endangered every day transporting kids to and from school in school buses that are simply not equipped with the right safety equipment. Bottom-line, they are overcrowded and do not have seatbelts. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas – These are six States in the US that require seat belts on school buses. The rest of the states do not even mandate this. 

Arsh Gupta (7) has concerns about school bus safety, with his school bus not having safety belts. It’s because the Texas 2017 law only requires new school buses to have seatbelts. 

“My school bus does not have a seat belt,” Gupta said. “I was shocked to hear about this rule. My school bus is overcrowded and does not have seatbelts even though I live in Texas, one of the states that mandate seat belts on school buses. I think that either my school district, Round Rock Independent School District, is being lax about this rule or they do not know about it.”

So are all public school districts across the nation breaking the law?

Officer Pope worked with our campus to ensure the safety of the surroundings.

“Well, students need to be aware of their surroundings,” Officer Pope said.  “They also need to report to their teachers any suspicious activity or if a friend or themselves is feeling down or going through a problem and are sad.”

He also felt strongly about the government’s involvement in safety.

“It is important for the government to prioritize adding additional funding for better security in schools and in busses that transport them to and from the school.”

Finally, we need to realize that nearly 60 million of the nearly 300 million population in the United States attend public elementary and secondary schools, in addition to private schools. This accounts for nearly 20% of the US population and more importantly represents the future of this country, and their safety is in question.