Reaction at Naugatuck High School to the Seattle school shooting last month was strong. “Of course it’s upsetting; there seems to be no value for human life,” commented Elaine Mulhall, a math teacher at the school.
Recently, Jaylen Fryberg, a student at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state, killed three people when he opened fire at his school, including himself. He was a 14-year-old freshman. Fryberg was also very well-liked with lots of friends. He had recently broken up with his girlfriend, but could that have been the only trigger for this act of violence? His rampage came to a sudden end when a teacher grabbed his arm and he turned the gun on himself.
This incident in Seattle raises questions for faculty, parents and students in Naugatuck: Is Naugatuck High School safe?
James P. Leary, dean of students, said, “I don’t think we have the manpower to check what students bring to school. I’m not sure if we want something like that here.”
What Leary is referencing are metal detectors at the front entrances and random checks of lockers and backpacks. But what procedures are currently in place? “Protocols we would take in a situation like this would be: security force, student honesty, and doing the right thing. This is supposed to be a safe place,” said Leary.
Matthew DaSilva, school resource officer with the Naugatuck Police Department, said that when considering school safety, officials debate the rights of the individual against the security protocols taken.
Elaine Mulhall, a math teacher at the high school, had different view on school security. “I think it’s getting to the point where students are going to have to walk through security, but I feel we are not safe anywhere.”
The Seattle incident shocked students at the high school. “I wouldn’t know what to do in that situation. It’s scary to even think about,” said sophomore Ronahi Musa.
If put in a similar situation where a student had a weapon Mulhall said would “protect as many people as I can.”
Additionally, Mulhall noted, “There are a lot of good kids doing bad things.”