Evaluating DHS school shooting protocol


Wildcat Photo

De Soto High School students protest gun control laws after the Parkland school shooting during a school walkout on March 8, 2018.

Oliver Stutzman, Staff Reporter

Many still remember the news of the Parkland school shooting that happened almost a year ago. A former student entered his old high school, shot, killed and injured 17 individuals. According to a November 2018 Washington Post article on mass shootings, about 113 students were injured or killed in 2018 from school shootings.

Attending De Soto High School, most students don’t live in fear of being in this scenario. However, with the number of school shootings rising, practices  are being implemented in schools to avoid more tragic incidents.

During and after school hours, if a visitor wishes to get inside they have to “buzz in.” The receptionists then can decide to let the person in or not. School Resource Officer Jonathan Keys has also undergone training in how to prepare in the event of a school shooting.

“We use the ALICE protocol,” Keys said. “The protocol is to alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate. It’s not a sequential type of thing.”

In the case that an armed individual were to be at DHS, it would be the same protocol that students have been practicing since kindergarten. If a students were to be on the opposite side of the school to the intruder, their safest route would be to evacuate. However, if students are in a position where they cannot evacuate safely, the best method of defense is to lock and barricade the door.

Some schools around the Johnson County area are taking action to prevent having to be in an armed intruder situation. For example, metal detectors are being installed at the entrances of some schools in the Olathe district. There have also been protests from students, parents and teachers for gun control laws to be revised.

“It’s challenging to get people to take them [intruder drills] seriously. I don’t think we’re any more or less at risk for a school shooting than other school districts around the nation,” Keys said.

Suspicious behavior around the school should also be reported to a trusted teacher. Before the school year starts, all teachers are informed of the ALICE protocol and even participate in an intruder simulation.

“It [a school shooting] would destroy this school and cause so much chaos,” sophomore Sarah Moler said. “We don’t know if or when it could happen to DHS and honestly, I don’t think the kids would react in a safe way if it did happen.”

Students need to know that these circumstances aren’t always predictable. Preparing to react in the proper way is crucial to the safety of students if there was a live shooter.