A view of the under construction learning area at Fruitport High School, in Fruitport, on Wednesday. Curved walls are one of the several new safety measures being installed to thwart active shooters.

School has started for elementary, middle, high school and college students. Students are getting back in the groove of classes, extra-curricular activities and social aspects of school. 

All students must think of safety in different ways. For example, elementary school kids think of safety as looking both way to cross the street. For college students, it is safe to bring a friend when going out late at night.

College students tend to have more freedom and time to do what they want and go where they like compared to grade-level students, who are required to follow a strict class-by-class schedule. Therefore, college students are often more aware and self-conscience about their safety. 

Even though college students may think about safety on a different level than grade-school students, college students think safety is an important priority to think about regarding younger students. 

“Safety is a top priority for all teachers and staff working at the elementary school level,” IUP Student Government Association (SGA) President Alexander Fefolt (junior, history/pre-law and political science) said. “All students should feel comfortable going to a trusted adult for help if they have any concerns or need to report an issue. 

“In addition, students should always listen to their parents, teachers and principals because they’re in the authoritative position and know what’s best.”

Using resources like teachers, parents and dependable people in the community as a reliable source of contact can help students feel comfortable and prepared for their journies through school. 

The use of technology is also a helpful, modern tool to use to help with safety. Nowadays, most grade-level students have a cell phone and are able to maneuver through its smart ways. 

Technology can also be used to see people’s location or whereabouts, especially if they post on social media daily. Texting or calling parents or relatives, letting them know your whereabouts after you leave home, get to school and are leaving school is a great way to ensure safety and trust on both ends. 

The buddy system is used in grade school and can be effective in all walks of life. In college, especially during the nighttime, it is smart to travel in pairs or a large group. When walking alone students are left more vulnerable. The same rules apply for grade-level students. Walking in pairs or larger groups tends to bring a sense of comfort, trust and unity.

“Try to walk in groups if you live near people by your home,” Ronald Inniss (sophomore, Asian studies) said. “It’s safer. That way if something happens, it’ll be easier to notice than if you were by yourself.” 

Being friendly but also cautious toward people you don’t know is a good balance of how you should approach strangers. Students should also be aware of the people and things around them and report any suspicious activity. 

“Make sure you’re not walking alone,” Lyndon Darwin-Shelton (senior, computer science) said. “Don’t talk to strangers because that is unsafe. Students need to be aware of your surroundings.” 

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