RHS Students: “We feel unsafe in our school” they told the school board Tuesday night
(Riverton, Wyo.) – Two Riverton High School students, one a senior and one a junior, told the Riverton school board Tuesday night that “We feel unsafe in our school.” The two, Kat Tyler and Ella Hauck, noted that the district had made some security enhancements at RHS, “but we believe there is more we can do.”
The two were adamant that they were not criticizing past efforts, nor advocating guns in schools, “but you have the power to listen and to make changes, we can collaborate with you,” the two reiterated.
“There are too many entrances and exits for one School Resource Office to protect us (10). We feel this is unsafe. The school in Florida (Parkland, where 17 students were killed two weeks ago by a former student) had only one SRO,” they said. “We have a long walk, outside, to the Career Center, and in winter its cold and there is no security for us. People are let in the side doors, there’s no one to monitor the walk between the buildings.”
“We don’t want our school to be a prison, we don’t want metal detectors, but ask for better monitoring of the entrances. The students in Florida have started a movement due to lack of protection in schools, and we are joining that,” Tyler and Hauck said. “School safety is not a political issue,” they said, “We should not have to worry about safety, just learning.”
“We don’t want to take away anyone’s guns, our country was founded on the right for freedom of speech and the right to protest, we’re begging you not to add your names to the list of people failing us. We know that change from Congress is unlikely, there is no quick fix to the issue, but students here are worried for their lives,” the two said.
“Every kid goes to school wondering if this day may be their last,” they said.
Superintendent Terry Snyder agreed with the students that safety is so critical. “Safety is the top priority of this board, the top goal, we are with you to do everything possible for safety. I also think your presentation is a good demonstration of the skills you learned in speech and debate,” he said.
“You talked about some specific things, those are details that I’d love to sit down and talk with you about. We want you to feel safe at school,” Snyder said, “but down in Cheyenne the legislature is considering major cuts to education again. If they come about, your concern about being safe will be increased, safety will be decreased, we could end up without an SRO in any school. We’ll have to ask if we can afford all three of our SROs, in the past we’ve said yes because we didn’t want to compromise that.”
Snyder also offered to personally accompany the students to Cheyenne to meet with legislators to discuss these issues.