New and Improved- Safety regulations coming to ARS after Florida shooting

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Since the Florida school shooting that occurred on Valentines Day, it seems the entire country is on edge, especially public schools. New safety measures have been implemented in schools across the nation, and Ann Richards is no different.

“We are becoming more strict about people buzzing in through the front door,” Ms. Isadora Day, middle school administrator, said.“We also got [camera] access for a lot of our office staff, which they didn’t have before. … Those are frontline, right away, things that we are doing.”

Not only will the school itself change, so will the fire drills. When there is a fire drill, students will no longer be heading out onto the track and field. Now, depending on which door they are closest to, they will be heading out to the parking lots of apartment buildings, the Wheatsville parking lot, or the neighborhood nearby the school. Students were able to use this new method to exit the building after a smoke alarm was set off on March 8. Staff and students left the building quickly to surrounding areas and entered again after it was determined that there was no fire.

“It’s quicker and better because if we all go out of one place, there is more of a chance of something bad happening,” Fatima Elmahdawi (9) said.

Administrators have also explained that the band teachers are going to try to make an effort to be in between the band hall and the main building, during passing periods, making it safer for students to cross between buildings. Students are already using the teachers’ badges to use the bathroom, so this should not affect day-to-day operations.

The shooting in Florida has led to the quick implementation of requests previously granted.

“What’s nice is that we have tried to put in requests before [for cameras and locks] and they haven’t been a priority, but now the district is making them a priority,” Ms. Day said.

After any school shooting, tension among students arise. While the school is trying their best to make students feel reassured, after any major tragedy returning to normal for students can be difficult.

“I feel like everyone’s on edge and that makes me feel on edge,” Zoe Trevino (6) said.

Ms. Anni Knox and Ms. Jane Howk are Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) teachers and are trying to help students through any feelings of unsafety they may have. The SEL teachers are in charge of helping students feel safe and helping students feel comfortable in the school environment.

“I think that anytime that you can talk about your feelings and understand that a lot of people are feeling the same thing that you’re feeling, it helps us process and we don’t feel so alone in our fears and worries,” Ms. Howk said.