The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

School shooting rates are climbing, but what precautions are schools taking?

Kent Richards
In 2020, Hamilton-Wenham Police and Firefighters took part in a specialized safety protocol drill. All students were volunteer actors from HWRHS.

According to The Center for Homeland Defense and Security, school shooting rates continue to climb. As these rates climb, Schools all over the country are forced to find ways to keep students and staff safe.

States and schools use different protocols and safety precautions to make sure students are safe when it comes to the risk of a school shooting.

At the Hamilton-Wenham High School in Massachusetts, the superintendent, Eric Tracy, explained some of the high school’s safety procedures and what has changed.

“The only thing to make announcements on was one phone in the office; now we have it, so we can all just pull it up on our phones and then make an announcement anywhere.”

If a shooter were to enter the building, there wouldn’t be time to run to the office to alert students and staff. This new system allows quick and efficient communication with the whole school. 

Along with the new intercom system, the Hamilton-Wenham school district recently changed the lockdown drill. It used to be ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate).

The high school principal, Bryan Menegoni, confirmed that a change had been made, and now the district “uses a protocol called Run, Hide, Fight.”

Tracy explains the switch, saying, “ALICE was the original routine that we did in all the buildings, even with the younger kids. They got so expensive that it didn’t make sense.”

He went on to talk about the pricing and how, over the years, it has added up. Now that the Hamilton-Wenham schools use Run, Hide, Fight, which is a free procedure, the money saved is able to be spent elsewhere.

There are some key differences between the two. ALICE was lockdown-oriented, with the evacuation a last resort; Run, Hide, Fight focuses on the evacuation piece as the first choice. The focus is on getting students out of the building instead of hiding, which has been a safer option. 

According to, additional plans and procedures should be put in place to keep all kids, staff, and everyone involved safe.

Safety update flyer shared with all students and staff at the HWRHS.

“The evacuation plan must be designed specifically for each building and include: 1) a crisis response team; 2) a designated manager of an incident, as well as substitutes; 3) a communication plan; and 4) protocols for safe and effective evacuations.” 

School evacuation plans must be meticulously planned while considering the area’s surroundings because every school is different. Whether the school has a church nearby, another school, or another building to have a safe evacuation. The location will differ from school to school. 

While evacuation is important, there still has to be awareness and experience for people if the ‘Fight’ ever occurred in Run, Hide, Fight. For schools with younger kids, like elementary schools, the fighting will generally be for the adults, hence the training for the staff. 

At the state level, public schools are funded by the government. The Massachusetts Task Force Report on School Safety and Security article on delves into the funding piece of how training can be afforded.

“Funding should be allocated for active shooter training and tabletop exercises for all first responders at the recruit and in-service levels. Live training should take place in school settings (when students are not present) at the request of the police. Currently, funding is appropriated on a grant to the Massachusetts State Police.”

Changes being made to schools are there to mitigate the growing threat and possibility of a school shooting and keep the students and staff the safest they can be.

At the national level, according to an article in the US NEWS, in 2023 alone, “there were 346 school shooting incidents across the country, meaning the U.S. averaged nearly one incident every day.”

If a school shooter were ever to be in a school building, precautions must be taken in case of this threat. The Hamilton-Wenhan school district has put its emergency procedures in place with the safety of its students and staff in mind. Education and practice are the best way to ensure everyone is prepared should something go wrong. As always, safety is the most important goal.

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About the Contributor
Emma Hughes, Student Journalist
Emma Hughes is a freshman at the Hamilton-Wenham High School located in Massachusetts. She has never written an article before, but she plans to write many in the future. Along with this, the inspiration behind her desire to start journalism in the first place is because of her dad. His dad investigates all sorts of situations through his work. Journalism allows reporters and journalists to find that information and share it with the world, if not themselves. Outside of school, Emma participated in Soccer and is currently in the mindfulness club.

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