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Assembly: BHS Administration Addresses School Safety

By Joel Iglesias :

The day started off tumultuously, when Mr. Taylor addressed the school on the loudspeaker – his voice less calm and collected than usual – to inform the staff and students of an emergency. Feelings ran high when he described a school shooting threat against the school. Since these horrible events are not rare in the United States, all information was treated as crucial and reliable to ensure the safety of all members of the school community.

Thankfully, Belmont Police assessed the threat and quickly decided that it wasn’t credible. This is because it was actually directed to a Belmont High School in Dayton, Ohio, not to the Belmont High School in Belmont, Massachusetts. The police in Ohio quickly responded to the threat, as all information collected by police here was sent to them. This Belmont High School’s student body will be keeping its thoughts with the school in Dayton, and hoping that the threat there has been resolved.

Even before these incidents occurred this morning, the administration had planned an assembly for today to address security within the high school. While all of the students were aware of this assembly, no one truly knew what topics it would cover. Row by row, the auditorium filled up with students ready to listen to BHS principal Mr. Taylor, Belmont Police Chief MacIsaac, and Police Officer O’Connor. The three speakers touched on various topics: new ALICE protocols regarding lockdown drills and active intruder situations; privacy concerns in the school bathrooms; the events of this morning; the consequences of causing danger; the tragic recent events in Oxford, Michigan; and the importance of students taking action to address unsafe situations and speaking up if necessary.

Laughter erupted from the audience during two sections of this assembly, which prompted visible frustration from Mr. Taylor and discontent from other administrators. Students laughed when Mr. Taylor spoke about dangerous behavior at sports games, such as students in the crowd throwing objects, which has been a recent problem at BHS. Students also laughed when Mr. Taylor addressed the “Belmonthigh_bathroomkicks” Instagram page, which was an account that anonymously posted pictures of students’ feet in the restrooms. The administration dealt with this rapidly and thoroughly, as they felt that it created an unsafe environment and constituted sexual harrasment.

Many students left today’s assembly with a feeling of dissatisfaction because the administration failed to address more serious issues relating to sexual harrasment and assualt within the school, and did not carve out time to answer student questions. Still, hopefully the assembly informed students and staff of some key issues at BHS. And hopefully Belmont’s swift response to the threat has ensured that students and staff in Dayton, Ohio are also safe and protected today.


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