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HCPS prevents school violence

The+front+of+Patterson+Mill+on+a+typical+Monday+morning.+In+the+United+states+there+has+been+an+average+of+1.25+school+shootings+a+week+where+someone+was+injured+according+to+CNN.+Harford+county+is+working+very+hard+to+make+sure+that+we+are+not+apart+of+that+statistic.
The front of Patterson Mill on a typical Monday morning. In the United states there has been an average of 1.25 school shootings a week where someone was injured according to CNN. Harford county is working very hard to make sure that we are not apart of that statistic.

The front of Patterson Mill on a typical Monday morning. In the United states there has been an average of 1.25 school shootings a week where someone was injured according to CNN. Harford county is working very hard to make sure that we are not apart of that statistic.

Emma Shultz

Emma Shultz

The front of Patterson Mill on a typical Monday morning. In the United states there has been an average of 1.25 school shootings a week where someone was injured according to CNN. Harford county is working very hard to make sure that we are not apart of that statistic.

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School shootings. These two words have shaken our nation straight down to the core beginning with Columbine that occurred April 20, 1999. Our society has just now decided to wake up, but is it too little too late?  Almost all of the interviews from the victims of these shootings recount the same thing: they did not expect this horrific event to happen to them. The shocking part is that it could happen, it does happen, and if nothing changes, it will happen again. There have been well over 300 school shootings since 2013. Which is on average, around one shooting a week. School shootings are not a rare occurrence.

School resource officer, Deputy Kovacs, shared his advice for students/faculty on the issue regarding the events going on around our country:

“It is so important to tell an adult if you hear or see something that isn’t right.  This includes anything involving a possible attack to kids being bullied.  We are our own community and we need to all be good citizens.  I also want all students at Patterson Mill Middle and High School to know that I am here for them.  I have prepared and trained for the worst case scenario to happen and if it ever occurs, I will be the one to respond and stop the threat without questioning my own safety.  All law enforcement officers swear to protect all life and that is what I will do.  No matter the cost.”

The importance of what Deputy Kovacs is saying is that we are all responsible for the safety of our community, not just law enforcement. They cannot do this on their own, so we as citizens and students need to step up to the plate and say something when we see something. If nothing is said how will they ever know there was a problem with someone, how will he know you needed protection? He won’t.

Baltimore Sun journalist Michael Dresser wrote recently how Maryland, united as a state is attempting to take control of gun violence and enforcing laws that were put in place to protect our students during the school day. In the, article published in February, Dresser talked about how Maryland had strict gun laws prior to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Maryland created and modified gun laws, making carrying a gun more difficult.  When it came to what Harford County was doing to protect their students and faculty members, Paw Prints newspaper contacted Mr. Donoven Brooks head of HCPS Safety and Security by email. Mr. Donoven Brooks did not respond.

The only thing HCPS had to say about the Parkland incident was a newsflash sent out on HCPS’s website. The newsflash sent out by superintendent of Harford County, Barbara P. Canavan,

“These events cause us to reflect on our practices in Harford County Public Schools (HCPS). We pray that nothing like this ever occurs in our own community. Sadly, we have learned from national incidents that no school or school system can guarantee 100 percent safety of students and staff 100 percent of the time, but I want to reassure our community that safety is our number one priority.”

She went on to state that Harford County has many plans and evacuations that all students and faculty practice regularly. After that explanation, she went on to list the security that is in place across the board for Harford County. “All exterior doors are to remain locked throughout the school day; Access to buildings is controlled, visitors must enter the school by going through the front office, provide identification, sign in, and wear a visitor badge during their time in the building.” School shootings are a scary reality, so the regulations and plans put in place are an important factor to keep students safe. It is very important for students to take all shelter in place drills seriously. We encourage teachers to review the emergency incident plan. If all students and faculty members take every drill seriously and teachers prepare their students, Patterson Mill will be as safe as possible if an active shooter incident were to occur.

Reporter Erika Butler from AEGIS recently wrote an article about the county’s plan to change certain aspects of the student resource officers program in Harford County. In the article the Superintendent elaborated on her opinion about our student resource officer’s role. “We need to know who they are, and we really need to recognize when there is trauma there, when their emotions are in an upheaval,” Superintendent Canavan said. “I think that’s probably the best detection, and then take care of them, whoever they happen to be, whether it’s a 6-year-old in front of you or an 18-year-old in front of you. Everybody has to converge … to do what’s best for that child to make sure emotionally they are buoyant.” Canavan believes student resource officers to need to look beyond the surface and take time to pay attention to student’s lives.

Canavan is putting a lot of the pressure on student resource officers, there is only one officer per school and many students in one school, students need to let their student resource officers know if they have any worries or suspicions. Our student resource officers cannot do everything, even if HCPS is looking into getting more student resource officers, they say that won’t be until 2019, and so for now do your part to keep our school safe. In addition the time it takes to get more student resource officers, even if we have the money now, they have to go through training and will not be ready until next school year. Here at Patterson Mill, we are one of the lucky schools who have a full time student resource officer, Deputy Kovacs. Some schools in Harford County are not lucky enough to have one, so we need to take advantage of having him because he has said he is there for us. He also said he will protect us by risking his own life. So if you see, or hear anything don’t be afraid to go down to his office to talk to him or email him. What will you do to protect our students and fellow members of the community?

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