Letter: Darien High School students implore community to protect their safety

The following letter was submitted to The Darien Times on behalf of 15 Darien High School students who requested their names be withheld. 

To the Editor:

The stories are real. The threats are real. As students of Darien High School, we demand that steps be taken to help prepare for and prevent tragedies like those in Parkland, Florida, Columbine High School, and Newtown Elementary School among many others. Change is demanded. Students are angry, frustrated, and mortified. Trust me, we are a force to be reckoned with. Things need to change immediately. Most of us are scared to wake up and go to school. We are terrified that our lives as we know them will be turned upside down at any moment. Most of all, we are terrified that nothing is being done to keep us safe. School should be a place we can go to and feel confident in our safety at all times. Instead, it has become one of the scariest places for us.
NEWSFLASH: Darien High School principal alerts parents of “non-credible threat” investigated Tuesday
How can we students feel safe when nothing is being done to ensure our safety?
Our safety and our lives are in your hands. With this responsibility comes expectations. We expect to be educated on how to handle each and every step of emergencies. We expect to feel confident that if a tragedy alike to that in Parkland were to ever happen in our own community, we would be educated in exactly what to do and how to approach it. We expect to know what to do in order to minimize the loss of life in an active school shooter situation. We expect our voices and proposals to be heard and respected.
• Darien Police assure the community of their school safety efforts
As a result of this recent tragedy in Parkland, students realize that if this type of tragedy were to happen in our own school, no one has any idea what to do. How do we stay safe? Do I play dead? Run? Where do I run? What side of the classroom do we go to hide? What if we cant find a teacher or an unlocked classroom to take cover in? How could I help my peers if they are injured? How do I stay calm? How do I recognize warning signs or red flags of someone who could potentially harm themselves or others? If I notice a fellow student seems distanced or troubled, how do I approach them or help them? Do I use a textbook as a shield? A desk?
• NEWSFLASH: Statement from Superintendent Dr. Dan Brenner on planned student walkout, says students will not be penalized
Is there anything I could say to the gunman if I come face to face with them to reduce my chances of being shot? Is there anything I can do ?at all? to survive instead of sitting helplessly and praying they dont come for me?
The fact that the majority of students in this school don’t know the answers to these questions is absolutely alarming and terrifying.
Students deserve to be trained and educated on what to do in this terrible situation. This type of knowledge can and will save lives.

A group of unnamed Darien High School students