West teachers discuss shootings


Anjelica Dry

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida has sparked many discussions over taking precautions to make high schools safe. West teachers have their own ideas on how to protect their students in case of a shooting.

According to Max Wachtel, the chance of a school shooting taking place in a high school any given day is 1 to 21,000. The likelihood of a school shooting might be slim, it still happens. The teachers go through training to prepare them if there was a school shooter, but nothing can ever prepare them for the real thing.

Lori Mosier said she thinks based on the circumstances, the right thing to do in case of a school shooter may differ.

Her gut reaction is to get her students out of the trailer. She told her students to meet her at the “second house with the wicket picket fence down Hook Road”. While Mosier thinks the best thing to do is run, JR Wells has a different plan.

Wells said he wants to be “the people outside on the front lawn here at West talking about how we took them out”.

His initial plan is to spray a fire extinguisher down the hallway to try to get his class out. If there isn’t a way to get out, he plans to fight.

He is the first line of defense and will take what he calls “home run swings” at the intruder with his baseball bat. If that doesn’t work he has “designated scissor people” that he has taught how to defend themselves with scissors the proper way.

Not all people have thought of their own plan. Matt Good will “stick to the plan” that the school has designed. He trusts the administrators have made a plan that will keep him and his students safe. Good said, “I’ve thought about different things to do, but I like the one the school has made”.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a school shooter at West, but there has been a scare. On the anniversary of September 11, there was a school intruder alert. Usually the teachers are alerted when there is a school intruder drill, but they were not. No one thought they would do a drill on 9/11, especially on such a sad day.

Everyone thought it was real, that there was an actual intruder. Mosier said, “ the students were prepared to do what they were supposed to do”.

The emotions were high that day. Wells says “there was a weird anticipation”, but everyone did what they were supposed to do. They armed themselves and were ready for anyone that got through the door.

While some teachers plan to runaway, fight, or stick to the normal plan, they all have one thing in common. They have all thought about what to do if there were a school shooter a lot.

Wells “would rather be over prepared than underprepared”. No matter what the teachers plan is, their top priorities is keep their students safe. Hopefully these plans won’t ever have to be used.