Are YOU Really Safe In School?

In today’s day and age, the issue of school security is at the center of political discourse.  School gun violence is at an all time high in America. According to a report issued by CNN in May of 2018, there were 23 school shootings (which CNN defines as a shooting with at least one fatality) in the first 21 weeks of 2018. That means there was approximately one school shooting a week in the first four months of 2018.  Interestingly, the report noted that most school shootings in 2018 took place on the East Coast and that zero school shootings took place in the Northwest.

As a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school, Ramaz is more susceptible to attacks and threats than a secular school. All around the world, there has been an increase in anti-Semitism, which makes the prospect of an attack on Ramaz more likely. Administrators insist, however, that the school is doing everything in its power to protect the study body and faculty. Rabbi Slomnicki, Dean of Students, maintains that Ramaz is a safe environment, saying that the schools has upgraded its security system by hiring more guards, holding security training seminars at opening faculty meetings, and updating its lockdown procedure. “I feel we are quite safe,” said Rabbi Slomnicki. “We have a closed campus. Students might feel like they can’t leave but it has a corollary benefit – it is, after all, very hard to get in.”

We have a closed campus. Students might feel like they can’t leave but it has a corollary benefit – it is, after all, very hard to get in.”

— Rabbi Slomnicki

Students at Ramaz, on average, seem to feel very safe in the building, despite the rise in school shootings in the country. While some grumble about not being given more privileges and independence, others feel that the school’s measures ensure their safety. Yoav Shames ’21, for instance, said  “I feel very secure here– after all, just look how many security guards the schools employs.”

Members of the Ramaz security staff have an interesting perspective on the issue of school security. As the people tasked with protected hundreds of students and faculty, their number one professional priority is the safety of each and every person who enters the building. “The first thing I think about when people approach the school is safety,” said Mr. Alonzo Bonaparte. “My first reaction is to find out who the person is and why they want to enter. Only after I’ve been given good answers to those questions to do I allow them into the building.”

Each year, we try to modify it for the better”

— Dwight Johnson

Mr. Dwight Johnson stated that students should have nothing to worry about when they enter the building. “There is a well thought out protocol that all the guards must follow,” said Mr. Johnson.  “Each year, we try to modify it for the better. We’ve made changes over the year to ensure that our safety procedures are the best they can possibly be.”