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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Gun Laws’ Effects on MIHS

Gun Laws Effects on MIHS
Kira Lancaster

According to the BBC, there were 632 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023. This shows the enormous change that our country needs to make—and Washington state should be one of many states to act on gun laws. 

Washington state needs to have stricter gun laws to ensure the safety of every Washingtonian. This will lead to an example that our country can follow to improve laws around guns. With this change, the casualties and violence caused by mass shootings can be reduced.

On Oct. 23, 2023, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) received multiple reports regarding gunfire near the intersection of 35th Avenue South and South Webster Street. Witnesses reported seeing two cars shooting at each other before fleeing the area. The SPD located evidence of the shooting by finding bullet damage in multiple buildings and an abandoned vehicle several blocks away. The officers continued to find evidence and learned that a 30-year-old male had arrived at Harborview Medical Center with a gunshot wound. Especially with the shooting at Ingraham High School last year, this just goes to show how closely our community can be affected.

Drills are a huge part of safety at MIHS, which is taking precautions for instances of a mass shooting. If a time comes that we will need to use what we have practiced, the drills ensure a proper reaction will follow. Practicing drills–especially lockdowns–ensure the safety of the students and staff. 

“We’ve implemented drills [and] we have communicated to our community when we had a real lockdown last year, we learned from that and the new kind of policies and procedures we built after having a real lockdown,” MIHS Principal Nick Wold said. “Last week, we had a lockdown drill in our school. And it was not our cleanest drill, we had some issues throughout. And so we’ll be having another drill to do it again. And we will be relentless with school safety.” 

Dec. 14, 2012 was the day the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. The shooting in Connecticut  helped all high schools across the nation recognize the threats that gun violence has on communities and how to adapt.

“I would say that in my time in the district, which has been since 2009, I would say, then post- Sandy Hook, there were changes,” MISD Superintendent Dr. Fred Rundle said. “We have implemented single points of entry at all of our schools, where the intention is for all non-school staff and students to be entering through that main vestibule, so that the front office can buzz students and staff and volunteers into the school.”

The Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) plays a vital role in the safety of our school district. 

“MIPD actually comes in and they use different schools to do actual, live trainings, where they’re going in as if there is an active shooter so that they could practice where things are in our schools, so that they’d be ready in the event that we’d have a horrific crime,” Rundle said. 

Wold also talked about the importance of having MIPD work with the staff at MIHS. 

“We actually work closely with our MIPD to do a variety of different trainings,” Wold said. “We do this as a part of our kind of welcome back materials. And in time, in preparation for the school year, sometimes there’s reminders throughout the year, but most of our work is done in preparation for the school year.”

The student body has a role to play in the safety at MIHS. 

“See Something, Say Something, it’s an app on all of our students’ technology,” Wold said. “When you see something [that] doesn’t feel right, often, students will see it before an adult will see it. So I think it’s so important that when a student doesn’t feel right about a circumstance or something that they see doesn’t make sense that they report it to an adult right away.”

On April 25th, 2023, Washington prohibited the sale, manufacturing and importing of assault weapons in Washington State. This is a good start on the path to stricter gun laws to limit gun violence. However, more laws need to be passed to ensure that students in Washington are safe from gun violence.

To ensure that shootings don’t happen in our schools across the state, gun laws should be strongly enforced in Washington to have the safety of everyone in mind. Gun safety applies to everyone.

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About the Contributor
Kira Lancaster
Kira Lancaster, Graphics Manager
Kira Lancaster (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and the Graphics Manager for The Islander. She enjoys music and dance and is part of the Mercer Island Drill Team at MIHS. Outside of school, her hobbies include drawing, writing and singing. Her favorite animal is a scorpion!

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    Paelun BFeb 13, 2024 at 5:28 pm

    This is overall a really good article, and has a lot of interesting information on the school’s policies towards school shootings. I’ve always wondered how effective school lockdowns are during school shootings, and its good to know that staff is aware of this issue.

    However, I feel like you could have spent more time arguing your case in favor of gun restrictions, as while I agree with you policy wise, I do feel like this article doesn’t fully address the gun debate and only really says that the existence of shootings must mean that regulation is good. It’s a really complicated and interesting topic, and I feel like it would be interesting to take a deeper dive into gun violence in Washington state, our current firearm regulations, and some proposals which could potentially help the issue. But overall this was really well done.