Is South Pointe Safe?


SPiN Wired Staff

On Feb. 14, a tragic shooting event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. was recognized nationally. A former student came into the high school, pulled the fire alarm, and put students immediately in danger. Seventeen students and faculty were killed with 14 others wounded.

Many South Pointe students have questioned whether they are safe in a school environment.

Two days ago, there was a small fire in the upstairs boy’s bathroom at South Pointe, leaving people anxious.

The Rock Hill Fire Department immediately responded to the emergency at South Pointe. photo creds: Justin Beam

Once the fire alarm was pulled, it triggered the memory of the Florida shooting in the minds of many students and teachers.

The day after, English teacher Joe Koon II questioned his students and asked whether they believed it was a real fire alarm or if there was a shooter in the school. He wanted to know if his students thought it would be better to stay in the building or go outside. He explained that half of his class raised their hands in support of staying inside. There is doubt about what to do when a fire alarm sounds, which is a terrible response to a fire alarm.

Senior Kali Blue was one of Koon’s students who raised her hands.

Blue says, “I was standing there [once the fire alarm was pulled] wondering, ‘What if this isn’t actually a fire?, What if this isn’t a drill?, Should I leave or stay in here for a few extra minutes?’ When I walked into the hall, I was looking around to see if there was anyone standing in the halls because if there was, I had to be ready to run. My immediate thought was to get out as fast as I can, just in case.”

After witnessing news reports of the shooting in Florida, Blue and other students immediately felt on edge, believing it wasn’t a real fire. Although no students should have to worry about this, recent copycat situations have raised awareness that these situations can occur anywhere.

There was much confusion among the teachers who did not know there was a real fire. They were not sure whether to keep their students in the classroom or take them outside. This shows how teachers should be educated about what precautions to take.

The same day as the fire, South Pointe provided faculty members with a drawstring bag filled with two combine pads, a flashlight, duct tape, two tampons for bullet wounds, pairs of latex gloves, a whistle, a command strip, and a tourniquet. This is just a small step that the district has taken toward response to a terrible emergency, but we believe that South Pointe and the district need to implement more aggressive actions for protection.

Today, assistant principal Anthony Thomas, in charge of school safety, said that teachers will be receiving specific training on the items inside the emergency kit on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Displayed are the supplies that each teacher has received.

It has come to our attention that the rules and regulations are not being enforced strictly enough by staff. Some precautions that we believe will help the students feel more protected are enforcing current rules and coming up with new rules.

We feel like there should be teacher training to understand what they should do in certain situations. There must be active shooter drills, because it can always occur. In addition, we need to have drills with officials, such as police officers, so that the situation can be more realistic and the officials can direct what the students and faculty members should do.

Some teachers suggest that they should be trained to use weapons just in case there is an emergency. We also believe that students deserve to receive a mandatory training because that will increase the amount of individuals who are able to defend themselves when there is a threat in the environment.

Biology teacher Jocelyn Gordon believes South Pointe should provide psychiatrists to help students who grieve.

Gordon states, “Students need an outlet where they can have conversations with someone who specializes in that all the time, who are psychiatrists. In this day and age, we should have at least three. We should also have a hotline that a student can call anytime because when students are able to talk and get things off their chest, they’re happier.”

In addition to creating new rules, faculty should reinforce the rules that are already set in place to ensure that school is one of the safest environments. For example, wearing ID’s is something that students should begin to wear again in case there is an emergency. If there is an emergency, it will help to identify those who are safe and those who are injured or worse.

Understanding that anything can happen at any point will help us in the future to stay safe. If we take precautions now and teach students and teachers what actions to take, it will limit danger and improve the chance of survival.

“We have to be cautious and think about what we can do to make sure our students are safe and enjoying their high school years, because this is supposed to be the best time of their lives. I know it [taking precautions] costs money, but there is no value that is equivalent to life. You only have one life. If we don’t begin now to take a stand, we are going to be in deep trouble in the future,” states Gordon.