How Safe Are We?


Will Wraith, Writer

Think about this honestly for a second. If you saw a stranger knocking on the doors at Madison High School, would you let him or her in? People are visiting Madison all the time, whether it be a board member, substitute, grounds worker etc. I’m sure that we can all think of a time where we’ve opened the doors for a fellow student or teacher, maybe even someone we don’t exactly recognize. But what if, the wrong person got in?
Images of the horror that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary school were hard to get away from this week as every news program, paper, and magazine across the globe provided coverage on what is being cited as the one of the worst school massacres in history.  Twenty young children and six adults were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, December 14th, when gunman Adam Lanza forced his way into the local elementary school with an assault rifle and enough ammunition to kill every student and teacher. Most of the victims were 7 years old or younger.  Lanza killed himself at the scene.

Outrage and grief spread across the world as word broke out about the atrocities committed on Friday. This being the fourth major public massacre during the Obama administration, controversy over the topics of gun control, public safety, and mental health are finally being taken seriously. “These tragedies must end,” president Obama said Sunday. “We can’t accept events like this as routine.”

Now, the nation heads back to school with new worries. On a local level though, how safe is Madison High School?

“I anticipate an emergency situation occurring at any time on any day,” said school officer Lisa Esposito. “That’s really how I approach my job every day.”

With tensions rising due to the events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary, knowing in the back of our minds that a trained officer is armed and on school grounds is a reassurance. “My presence here should be a comfort to staff and students,” Esposito explained.

In addition, Lockdown and Shelter-in-Place drills reinforce our safety measures but often times aren’t taken as seriously as they should be.

“When you have situations like this, in the immediate aftermath, people tend to take the safety drills very seriously but overtime the system breaks down again. Students forget how important it all is.” Said Dr. Ladolcetta, a chemistry teacher at MHS.

One thing to notice about each of these events, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, is that they all happen in affluent areas. Madison in many ways is much like Newtown. These are small towns with tiny stores lining the Main Streets. They are rich suburban areas with low crime rates, similar houses and comparable distances from fence to fence between them. Madison and Newtown are the perfect towns to live in. In some ways, they are each the last places you would expect something like a school massacre to happen.

So, are you safer at an inner city school with gang activity and a metal detector at the door, or at the number 6 school in the state? It all comes down to the level of preparedness.

On her position at Madison, Esposito stated, “My main focus is keeping the school safe and I play a big role as a preventer, but I can’t do it all by myself. The cooperation of students and faculty is the most important part. Keep the doors locked, report suspicious incidents, be safe.”