Are MCDS students safe?

A commentary on violence in schools


Photograph by Federico Simoni

By Federico Simoni, Staff Writer

In light of the recent school shooting in Philadelphia, we need to question our safety at school. According to EDweek, since 2018, there have been 152 school shootings in the US alone. With school shootings becoming more common over the span of the last decade, student safety has become a leading concern. 

The number of shootings is rising by the hundreds. According to Washington Post, More than 320,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine, if we look at school shootings in the years 2000 to 2010, there were 60 incidents; from 2010 to 2020 231 incidents which is almost a  400% increase; lastly, from 2020-2022, there were 81 incidents. This is a rising problem, especially in America. As we can see, there were 21 more shootings in just two years than in the whole 2000’s decade

We have to question if Miami Country Day is prepared.

Schools like MCDS have a much lower chance of school shootings happening for many reasons. Some reasons are the number of kids in the school is very small compared to a school like Parkland. Another reason is that MCDS works well with making sure everyone is included and lets us know very often that if you don’t feel included that you should take one of the many elective classes or clubs available. But what is MCDS doing about this issue?  Is Miami Country Day taking steps to tackle violence in school?

Tim Walsh, Chief Operating Officer, stated “We are training our guards, looking for threats, identifying threats, we have over 300 cameras, many of which have alerts, so we know if there is an intruder, and training guards how to act when it happens.”  He shared that the mental health department is also doing a lot of work toward this issue.

Walsh explained why he believes school shootings happen. “I believe there are people that want attention, a genuine mental health issue, and that covid could still be a lingering issue.” 

According to EDweek, only 46% of students felt that they were valued members of their school community. This could be a contributing factor to why school shootings occur.

Ms.Calfee, MCDS guidance counselor) stated “with the increase of anxiety and depression, and the increase in social media isn’t helping. Without an outlet, students could be taking it out on themselves and others physically.”

To lessen the number of shootings, Walsh shared some advice. “Staff should be trained to notice when a student is having mental health issues or suspicious behavior,” Walsh said. “Independent schools are less prone to shootings because the classroom size is smaller, which allows the teachers to notice and get to know the students better.”

Drills are one way that we can prepare. Walsh believes we need more drills, and the reason they are effective is that they familiarize students and teachers with what to do. He also noted that we likely, in the future, have evacuation drills.

Like most of us, Walsh hopes that our school is safer given “the tools we have, the security we have, and the police station that is nearby.”

“It is horrific, but it is very rare, and the great majority of students should feel safe,” said Walsh.