South Should Be A Safe Space


Jocelyn Hamilton, Staff Member

In the last five weeks Salina South High has seen multiple incidents, which has caused students to feel unsafe in our school’s environment. School should be a space where people feel safe and secure, but at South this is not always the case.

In the most serious incident on Oct. 11, shots were fired in front of the school shortly after dismissal. Luckily there were no injuries, and everyone walked away safely from the scene. Within less than 24-hours, three minors were arrested; including one former student and two current students.

An earlier incident on Sept. 22 a verbal bomb threat overheard by a staff member, this threat was reported to the police and the student was charged for a criminal threat.

Another occurrence was reported on Sept. 27 of a school shooting threat on Sept. 28. There was text written on a women’s bathroom stall saying “School shooting tmrw 8:30 a.m.” and “Get ready! Bring yo guns to school and let the fun begin!” This led to an increase in law enforcement in the building the day of. According to the Salina Police Department’s press release, “On September 27, 2022, a citizen contacted the Police Department with information that led to the arrest of a 14-year-old female student of Salina South High School. The 14-year-old will be booked into juvenile detention.” Earlier this month Salina Central also received threats by graffiti, similar to the ones received less than a month earlier.

Last week an evacuation drill was canceled because at the time administration and law enforcement were investigating a school shooting threat. The threat was detailed in a press release by Salina Police Department, stating one student was heard making an agreement to three others proposing to “shoot up the school”. This was followed by all four students putting their hands in alleged agreement to the plan. Both the statement and the handshake were witnessed by multiple students; one student felt unsafe enough to report the incident to their parents. This parent then contacted administration, which led to the identification and arrest of the teens.

All of the teens were placed into juvenile detention and have been requested to be charged with Aggravated Criminal Threat. “If you have information relative to this case please call Crimestoppers at 825-TIPS” “You may receive a cash reward of up to $1,000” said by Salina Police Department.

With the increase of safety concerns in school parents have resorted to teaching their kids how to survive a school shooting, this includes having plans on if a school shooter is in the building or right in front of them. Around the country guardians have even gotten to the point of putting bullet proof inserts in their children’s backpacks to protect them. These precautions are usually taken by elementary school parents or guardians, but middle-schoolers and high-schoolers are being exposed to these drills and worries more frequently.

Even with the increased security for a school shooting threat, in our school’s case many students didn’t feel comfortable going to school. As students we can advocate for a safer space, but we can also do our part. Calling our school’s anonymous line to report any activity that would put students at risk is a step in the right direction (South’s Number: 309-3820, State Number: 1-877-626-8203.)

The school needs to help as well; this could be having safe spaces available, training teachers in regards to mental health or having a trusting relationship with students, social media regulation, and more that can make a school seem like a helpful community that wants their students to strive for success without threats to student’s safety.