One year later: the reality of shooting plot remains at SPHS

By Vaughn Huelsman

Staff Writer

The threat of mass shootings in America was brought to the South Pasadena community when an alleged shooting plot was discovered 48 hours before the start of the 2014-15 school year. The increase in mass gun violence in the United States had seemed like a foreign issue to the high school, located in a city known for its low crime rate, before news of the potential threat surfaced. As time has passed, some students feel that the issue has fallen into the background and was only addressed with temporary, heightened emotions. These students have expressed a perceived disconnection between the school administration and student population about the actions taken since the potential mass shooting threat.

“I feel as if they did a lot to maintain a positive image in the eyes of the public, but as for physical student safety, I don’t feel that anything has really changed,” junior Taylor Holmes said. “At the end of the day, [the students] should be the main focus and I think if more [emphasis] was put on our mental health, we would be able to avoid situations such as these.”

While some students feel that the administration has not done enough, principal Janet Anderson has worked since the original incident with other members of the district staff to heighten security and assistance to students.

“To prevent a possible future issue, we’ve called for more alert staff and vigilant office checking, and implemented door blocks and security cameras in order to make everyone feel safe,” Anderson said. “We want the school to be a haven for students to leave any stress, trauma or any part of a troubled home life.”

Anderson also reported that there has been a focus on empathy and emotional support among the staff.

“We’ve worked with the counselors and school psychologist to implement ‘Train Your Brain,’ a program that provides specialized assistance to students at the base student-to-teacher level. Half of the time we spend on staff days have been spent on helping others deal with stress,” Anderson said. “We’re helping the staff [members] first so that they can help their students.”

Though administrators have increased their efforts to ensure student safety and health, many are unaware of the different resources that are available to them, which could prevent students from benefiting from these programs.

“I don’t think that the school has done enough for any student concerning mental health. I think that the resources that students have so far, such as the peer mediation program and counselors, are really great but they also do have their flaws,” junior Anthony S. Chen said. “Having resources known and available to students is vital.”