How Safe Is Our School? It Depends on Who You Ask


Photo by Lucy E.

Security cameras installed this year help maintian safety in the Longfellows hallways.

Safety in schools should always be ensured but isn’t always fulfilled. Many schools experience dangers to different degrees that put students and staff at risk. It is important to be aware of our environment and work to make our school a safe place.

One way to increase safety is the presence of a School Resource Officer.  At Longfellow, that is Officer Horan. According to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, an SRO is a law enforcement officer who enforces safety in schools by detecting crime and initiating arrests.

“I feel safe in school because I think we have a good student body here,” Horan said. Most of the students here want to be here to learn and most of them would not be involved in violence here at the school.” 

While that may seem to be the case here, WTOP News reported in April that the number of disciplinary incidents reported in FCPS had more than doubled in the 2022-23 first semester alone.

In addition, according to National School Safety and Security Services 2022 State of School Safety Report, 68 percent of students reported feeling safe, leaving 32% less confident in the matter.  Only 60% of students felt their schools were prepared to support students being bullied.  Interestingly they reported that “The perceptions of students and parents versus educators are vastly different indicating more needs to be done about bullying on and off campus. 

At Longfellow, the faculty and staff also seem to think the school is safe. 

“I do feel safe at Longfellow because I feel as though we have a lot of adults in the building,” said English teacher Vicki Wu.  “We also have teachers that are standing out in the hallways between classes and I think that helps with our safety.” 

She is also reassured by the cameras in the hallways, which allow staff to pinpoint when people misbehave and make sure the perpetrators are held accountable. Being watchful is very important for staff and students. 

“I would just say everyone needs to be vigilant and needs to make sure we are not being unsafe,” said Ms. Wu.

It is also important to note that students can help make their schools safer by letting adults know when unsafe behavior occurs.

“I think the biggest thing to improve safety here or anywhere is changing the mentality of [students] being afraid of telling on other people,” said Officer Horan. 

This means that the easiest way to keep our school safe is to tell a staff member if someone or something is endangering our school. Students shouldn’t be afraid to speak up because safety is most important. It isn’t just the administrators’ job to be cautious, students have to contribute as well.