Before Feb. 14, 2018, I did not realize the lack of security, not only at MSD but in schools around the nation. I would walk into school, which was unenclosed by gates in many areas, smiling at the security and waving to my friends.
I carried my student ID in my schoolbag, rarely touching it through the school day. If I ever brought an extra bag with me, no one questioned it. I never noticed how terrible the cameras were or how easy it was to access the fire alarms. The only police officers I saw were the ones patrolling the neighborhood after school, waiting to ticket sneaky parents picking their children up illegally from the street’s sidewalks.
I was in the 1200 building during the shooting, and I heard and saw it all. After crying and praying for many hours I finally got up and turned on the news. Information about Nikolas Cruz was being delivered and one of the main topics were ways the tragedy could have been prevented.
Once we came back to school, new measures were taken to prevent the same tragedy from occuring again. At first, school IDs and lanyards were passed out; they needed to be worn at all times. I questioned why we didn’t have to wear them before because they were a great way to distinguish the students.
We were given clear school bags, something I never found useful in their purpose to “protect” us. There was no point in wearing them, especially since there was only a couple of months of school left and weapons could still be hidden in the bag.
I felt more secure knowing that there was in addition of armed police officers walking around the school. I felt safer, but my PTSD kicked in when I was near the covered guns strapped onto their backs.
The most noticeable changes, in my opinion, came after summer break. The red gates that were installed over the summer helped me feel concealed from the outside world of our campus. Our school was a family now and the red gates brought us together.
There was an addition of new security guards, who were now more strict and serious about their jobs, questioning the students and checking for their passes. I was relieved knowing that they started properly doing their jobs. Before, they would never ask students about their whereabouts which concerned me as I passed by them.
With the new safety precautions taken, I feel more at ease walking around the campus while I travel to my classroom, use the restroom or eat during lunch.