Uvalde’s school shooting has people across the nation worried for the safety of their schools and their children's lives.
Western Washington University's President, Sabah Randhawa, sent out an email announcement on May 25, in regards to the tragic school shooting in Texas. Randhawa discussed how too many American lives have been lost to gun violence — not just in the more than 200 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone, but in many other forms, including suicide and domestic violence.
“Teachers, staff and school administrators work hard to create safe, nurturing and inclusive schools. The Texas school shooting yet again shattered what should be a sanctuary for students. The feelings of violation and vulnerability brought about by the brutal murder of students and teachers in Uvalde yesterday reverberate in every learning community. We stand with our teachers-in-training and all educators against this violence,” Randhawa said.
School districts across the nation are concerned for their students' safety and are doing everything they can to address the worries that surround their communities after the shooting. Bellingham Public School District is working hard to ensure a safe community for all students and staff.
Dana Smith, Bellingham School Districts Spokesperson said that every single person in their school cares deeply about the kids and their safety. The school district takes very seriously the trust that families put into schools when they send their children to be educated and spend a big part of our day with them. Bellingham as a community takes students’ safety very seriously and works hard to maintain a safe school environment for all schools in Bellingham.
“We are really fortunate as a school district that the Bellingham community has supported our bonds to ensure that our schools are more up to date with safety and security features. Our community really prioritizes our schools’ safety with their tax dollars and support,” Smith said.
Staff and teachers practice lockdowns as well as spread awareness for students to recognize someone who could potentially inflict harm on themselves or others. Schools work with law enforcement to provide a safe environment for students and faculty.
Amanda Kohonen, a paraeducator for special education at Fairhaven Middle School said, “all staff is required to wear their identification badges where they can be seen at all times. Any visitor that comes to the school is required to come into the office, sign in and retrieve a visitor’s badge. Identification badges help students and staff alike know who people are at all times to ensure the security of our building and the safety of our school community.”
This process prevents unauthorized people from coming into the building and potentially putting students and faculty in danger. Fairhaven Middle School also has doors in each classroom that are locked at all times with magnetic strips.
“We use these magnets so that in the event of an emergency we can pull away from the magnet very quickly and have a locked door rather than having to put our staff at risk to lock the door manually from the outside during the moment,” Kohonen said.
Bellingham School District and Western Washington University recognizes the heinousity of these crimes and are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of students and staff in Whatcom County.
President Randhawa said, “In the wake of a terrible event of this kind, sadness and hopelessness can feel overwhelming. Please, reach out. Talk to trusted friends and colleagues. Offer support and care to others when you can.”
“We encourage students to contact the Counseling and Wellness Center at cwc.wwu.edu/. Staff and faculty may reach out to the Employee Assistance Program at hr.wwu.edu/employee-assistance-program. And please remember: you are not alone,” Randhawa said.
Michaela Camlin(she/her) is a third-year at Western Washington University studying journalism focused on public relations, and reporting on city news.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.