School shooting on the minds of Wakefield HS students

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How are students feeling about school security in the Triangle? DeJuan Hoggard went to Wakefield High to find out.

The day following a deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., students at Wakefield High School said part of Thursday was spent discussing Wednesday's tragedy.

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"At school we just talk about what would happen if there was an active shooter," said student Tyson Burgess. "We would take precautions. And it's scary at the same time, but I feel like the teachers take every precaution they can during the (lockdown) drills we have to make sure that doesn't happen at Wakefield and no one gets harmed."

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Another student, Tommy Lewis, said most of his teachers brought up Wednesday's and other events in the past during group discussion. He also noted how easy he feels somebody can access school property.

RELATED: Is WCPSS prepared for an active shooting situation?

"There's doors that are propped open," he said. "The teacher will prop open a side door because they don't want to have to walk all the way to the front. And then there's doors that are unlocked all day that anybody could easily walk in."



Despite security concerns at the school, most students agreed on feeling safe while on campus.

READ MORE: Florida school shooting blamed on mental illness, not guns

"I would hope nothing like that would ever happen at our school," Macy Bonnett said. "But I also feel like if something did happen that we would know what to do in that situation, and we'd be prepared to take the right measures."

"I think the teachers do a really good job at preparing us in case (a school shooting) were to ever occur," student Alejandra Anguila chimed in.

"My parents just tell us be careful. If you see anything strange let us know, let someone know," added student Hayleigh Perry. "Because you never know what's going to happen. You never know who's lurking around the school. And they can come in at their own will. It's not like the school is locked during the day. So if someone wants to come in, they can just walk in the front door."

RELATED: 'Hero' assistant football coach, students among Parkland School shooting victims

Shooter Nikolas Cruz has been described as having a troubled past. It's a trait that Bonnett said she would identify and attempt to offer her support.

"Usually, I'll go up to the person and let them know, 'Hey if you ever want to talk, I'm here for you. Don't listen to (bullies, haters). What they're saying isn't true,'" she explained. "Just kind of make them feel better about themselves in case they did feel like they needed to do something threatening."

Jenna Chitla, who also attends Wakefield, said one of her classes discussed whether Wakefield should have more armed officers on campus.

"They don't have the right weapons to defend us in that situation if that were to happen," Chitla said. "But I feel like we're pretty safe with where we are right now."

"People are messed up and you can't do really much about it," added senior student Gage Felton.

Thursday, WCPSS sent a letter to parents in response to Wednesday's shooting at Parkland. That letter can be read here.
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