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Principal and Students Discuss Guns at RAHS


On Wednesday, November 8th, Dr. Jen Wilson, RAHS principal, addressed students in a town hall meeting addressing three gun-related incidents that took place in the building in September and October. (Read more about the first two incidents here and the third here.)

Dr. Wilson placed a strong emphasis on the systems that worked as they were supposed to–the “hold” students were placed in, the Roseville Police Department and School Resource Officer’s involvement, and administration’s quick response to reports. 

In response to concerns about the students who brought the weapons to school, she shared that all three students either have been expelled via policy 520 or are currently being reviewed by the school board for expulsion. Policy 520 states that “any student bringing a firearm to school must be expelled for one year.”

Additionally, Dr. Wilson shared a list of proactive measures that the school has taken to keep incidents like these to a minimum, such as: locking the elevators, increasing police presence, having safety and security committees, and transitioning from Raider Time to RISE Time. 

Students at the town hall meeting felt that their teachers did a good job of making them feel safe during stressful situations, including the “hold” students were placed in on October 24th. 

In response to student questions about communication, Dr. Wilson acknowledged that students turned to social media and rumors during the incidents due to a lack of information from administration, but provided an explanation for the lack of communication in the moment: “When all of [administration] is involved with controlling the situation, there is no one left over to make announcements.”

However, Dr. Wilson clarified the district has a person whose job is to communicate with students and families, and when an issue arises, they immediately start drafting schoology posts and emails to be sent out as soon as there are concrete facts to be shared. 

Although she feels satisfied with certain parts of the school’s response to the last three incidents, Dr. Wilson says she wants to be “careful not to spin this into a success story.”

She recognized that there are many improvements to be made, such as communication with students about how to react if more situations like these arise and the promptness of official school communications following the incidents. 

Students at the town hall meeting asked about possible changes to limit the number of guns in the school, specifically the idea of putting metal detectors at all entrances. Dr. Wilson agreed with the students that metal detectors would be great but explained that they are not realistic. This is because RAHS has over 40 doors, so at least 80 people would need to be hired to run the metal detectors and because each set of metal detectors costs thousands of dollars.

Although metal detectors are not a viable solution, Dr. Wilson urges all students to contact teachers or administrators if they have any concerns or solutions to discuss.

One student at the town hall meeting shared that during the “hold” on October 24th, they were stuck in the bathroom. Because the announcements over the intercom were vague and contained only instructions, not information, they thought the situation was much worse than it really was. They sat on the toilet with their feet up for 30 minutes, fearing for their life because they thought there might be an active shooter. 

Dr. Wilson and Melissa Sonnek, the Assistant Superintendent of Roseville Area Schools, expressed regret that the student was in that situation and committed to improving communication to avoid similar circumstances in the future. 

Despite stories like this, administration feels that RAHS is a safe space for students to be. Dr. Wilson said she feels “just as safe at school as at Target. Guns are no more prevalent [at RAHS] than anywhere else, it’s just that our systems are leading to their discovery more effectively.”

Dr. Wilson ended the town hall meeting with a message of confidence: “I feel safe coming to work here every day. I have a daughter, and I feel safe sending her to school here every day.”

She encouraged any adults in the community with concerns about the issue to attend the community town hall meeting on Wednesday, November 15th, at 6:00 PM. It will be held in the Thein Auditorium at Roseville Area High School.

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Evelyn Sagor
Evelyn Sagor, Editor-in-Chief
I am a co-editor-in-chief and have been writing for The Ville for three years. I like writing about social issues and sports. I do track and field and powerlifting, and I am secretary to Student Council. I also work at a local coffee shop!

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