In the one year since the shooting that left 17 dead at Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018, Palmetto has taken many effective steps to ensure not only the safety of students but to ensure their peace of mind as well.
Only a week after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Palmetto allowed students to participate in a walkout to protest against the lack of gun control in the U.S. On Mar. 14, the National School Walkout, Palmetto also allowed students to participate in a walkout to honor the victims and partake in 17 minutes of silence. On Apr. 20, 2018, Palmetto held another event, entitled “Where Do We Go From Here,” allowing students to reflect and ask themselves what steps needed to be taken to ensure a shooting never happens again. While not necessary for the administration to do, those three events showed that Palmetto really cares about their students’ opinions and emotional needs.
In regards to safety, Palmetto tried to institute a uniform policy that would clearly distinguish who belongs and who does not. Palmetto parents voted against this policy, and so instead they strictly enforced a mandatory I.D. policy. Palmetto closed multiple entrances after 7:20A.M. when the late bell rings, leaving only one entrance open that a security guard constantly occupies. Constant police and security guard presence around the school could deter anyone trying to enter. Palmetto also put up hard corners in each room to show the safest place to go in case of an emergency.
While there have been increasing calls for more code red or active shooter drills, Miami Dade County Public Schools regulates those drills, not Palmetto. Procedure comes directly from MDCPS, so anybody upset with the way that code red drills run should be looking at them instead of Palmetto.
After the tragic events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward county, all South Florida schools realized that certain measures need to be taken in order to protect students from devastating crimes. The lax manner in which Palmetto had conducted itself came to an end and administration and the district implemented new rules. Starting off with the uniform initiative and enforcing all students to wear mandatory identification cards. However, these minimal proposals will not ensure safety in school.
To begin with, administration suggested a new uniform policy and student’s parents voted upon it. The vote failed and the school’s no uniform policy continues. Had this passed, the need for students to constantly display their identification would not exist. Nevertheless, the reality is that now all students must wear some sort of identification around them at all times. The administration has adopted a strict approach to this and tries its hardest to implement this policy. But with close to 3,000 students and an understaffed administration, upholding such a policy can be difficult. Many students avoid it, and some even wear other student’s IDs to avoid being punished by faculty members, which defeats the purpose.
On the other hand, the administration has commenced many practice drills in order to prepare students. These drills include code yellows, code reds, fire drills and the newly added active shooter drill. These are satisfactory steps towards preparing students for certain emergencies. However, Palmetto only issued one active shooter drill and the directions mandated by the administration consisted of hiding and getting away from windows. Administration has yet to come up with elaborate plans or means of defense in regards to a situation like that. This essentially left the school’s emergency policy similar, if not the same, as previous to the Stoneman Douglas tragedy.