Editorial: More Can Be Done to Ensure Safety of BOHS Students, Staff


Makayla Huerta

With the return to full in-person school across the United States, there has been a predictable increase in on-campus gun violence. Due to the return to this unfortunate reality, it is imperative that BOHS’s lockdown drill occur within the first two weeks of school.

The lockdown drill that occurred at BOHS on Sept. 23 was an important reminder that shootings are an unfortunate reality of attending American schools. 

Because of the frequency of school shootings — there have been 102 guns fired on school grounds, resulting in 21 deaths and 60 injuries in 2021 alone —  it’s imperative that BOHS conduct its lockdown drill the first two weeks of school, at the latest. This year’s drill occurred five weeks into the Fall semester. 

And to further ensure the safety of BOHS staff and students, faculty should be required to use the easy-to-activate, but potentially life-saving, Lock Bloks that are installed on classroom doors. 

Both of these tools are necessary to protect us, and more should be done to amplify their importance. 

When distance learning replaced in-person teaching for much of the country last year, the number of school shootings significantly decreased from 2019, with a total of ten shootings on school campuses in 2020, versus 130 shootings in 2019. This year, from Jan. 1 to Oct. 6, there have been 102 guns fired on school grounds.

And the threat of violence is not just occurring in distant places. 

In Brea, on Aug. 24, just two weeks into the Fall semester, an Instagram Story was posted by a BOHS student, warning their followers, “tomorrow is the day I’m going to do it… don’t go to school tmr @ brea pls.” The threat was deemed “no apparent danger to any students,” according to a Brea Police Department statement, and classes were held without interruption. 

However, even though the threat did not result in an attack, BOHS staff and students should be better, and more frequently, informed about what to do in the event that one of these threats does result in a shooting.

Between a lockdown drill that occurs too late in the school year, and our teachers’ failure to use the simplest of safeguards, BOHS is not doing enough to ensure the safety of its students. 

With the unfortunately predictable spike in the number of active shooters on school campuses, and BOHS’s own recent history with social media threats (in 2017, a 16-year old BOHS student was arrested for posting on social media “threatening messages that alluded to shooting people,” while holding a rifle), it is imperative that an active shooter drill take place within the first two weeks of school.

Because for some U.S. schools that had just returned to campus to begin a new school year in 2021, violence was quick follow.  

On Sept. 21, a 15-year old student at Heritage High School in Virginia pulled out a gun during an altercation with another student and shot two classmates. It was Heritage High’s second full week of school. 

In New Mexico, on Aug. 13, on just the third day of classes at Washington Middle School, a 13-year old boy was shot and killed while standing up for his bullied friend. The shooter, also 13, was charged with one count of murder and unlawfully carrying a deadly weapon, according to AP News.

Because these tragic circumstances are impossible to predict, preparation — the only protection against an active shooter — is vital. 

In 2013, BOHS installed Lock Bloks — a black rubber device that enables teachers to lock their doors without needing to step out of the classroom — on classroom doors. 

But in February of 2018, in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. the Wildcat staff assessed if Lock Bloks were being properly utilized  — door locked, Lock Blok employed — on classroom doors. Only 70% of the 61 classrooms that were checked daily over the course of two weeks were using the life-saving tool.

On Sept. 13 and 14 this year, the Wildcat staff again assessed Lock Blok usage on classroom doors. 57 classroom doors were observed, and only 35 percent of these occupied classrooms had properly utilized their Lock Bloks.

Between a lockdown drill that occurs too late in the school year, and our teachers’ failure to use the simplest of safeguards, BOHS is not doing enough to ensure the safety of its students. 

Teachers are held accountable for wearing masks while teaching, and they should be held accountable for activating the Lock Blok.  

Schools should provide the safest possible environments for students and staff. Prioritizing the lockdown drill during the first two weeks of school, and holding teachers accountable for use of the Lock Blok, are just two easy-to-implement ways that BOHS can create an atmosphere of preparation and security.