Inside the Halls: Are We Safe?


Dennis Racket

With the heightened emphasis on school security, sophomore Kiana Smith asks questions about school safety.

Remember the clowns? A few months after I began my academic transition from a middle school student and joined the ranks as an official high schooler, a strange, terrifying phenomenon began occurring at middle and high schools all over the country.  Along the Southern, Eastern and Western Coasts, threats of “clowns” terrorizing students from middle schools to college campuses circulated through social media faster than the premier of a new Beyonce video. Sightings of people dressed in clown masks, or full blown clown suits threatening to kill students brought fear in schools, prompting students to stay at home, or leave school early for shelter from the “creepy clowns.”

North Atlanta High was no different. I recall the first time my sister and I sent frantic texts to our mom, begging her to pick us up from school due to panic and fear of masked men dressed as clowns headed to our school to shoot random students. Rumors of the planned creepy clown attack on (NAHS) NAH and other Atlanta high schools circulated through social media and brought panic to students given the okay by their parents, mine included to leave school early, or stay at home in the wake of the pending threat.

The only thing that would bring some degree of relief is knowing your school’s administration is taking the threats seriously and also implementing additional security measures to assure the safety of the students and staff. It’s questionable whether (NAHS’s) NAH’s administration and security team did either. Parents wrote to the district’s superintendent with no response which included a plan of action to address the possible threat. APS deferred the matter to handling by the principle. Parents reportedly then contacted senior school administration, who appeared to dismiss the need for increased security.

While the threat of masked men dressed in clown suits terrorizing schools was well publicized to shed light on the effectiveness and efficiency of security on local schools, it by no means serves as the only example of inefficient security throughout the halls of NAHS. Although city of Atlanta police can be seen around campus grounds, it often appears their “presence” is for appearance and not action. The district implemented a security bag check which scanned bookbags for possible weapons; however, this extra security measure isn’t required if you arrive to school after 8:45. What sense does that make? It’s not as though we don’t see news stories on a weekly basis about enraged students opening fire in classrooms, and along the halls of schools from elementary to high school and colleges in all types of schools from supposedly affluent to rural and urban areas. A deranged student with access to a weapon really has no defined color, or socio-economic standing.  To North Atlanta High, the school we call home for more than half of our waking hours during the day, in the hallways and campus grounds we sometimes see more than our own homes, it’s your job to protect us and provide a secure environment where we feel and are safe. To you I say, it’s time to step up.