Florida School Shooting Prompts Discussion about Security at South Lakes High School

by Fatimah Waseem February 26, 2018 at 3:30 pm 16 Comments

South Lakes High School is emphasizing its security and protest policies after a Florida high school shooting left 17 students and faculty dead.

Kim Retzer, the school’s principal, said the last several days have been “intense as the conversations and actions around school violence have taken place.” Last week, more than 350 students walked out of the school and stood outside midday for 17 minutes.

In response to mixed reactions about the walkout, Retzer said that Fairfax County Public Schools respect students’ rights to engage in peaceful protest and express their opinions, so long as the form of expression is “done respectfully, does not interfere with the rights of others, and does not disrupt learning in the school.”

“Students participating in marches or walkouts are expected to participate in class and to respond to administrative questions and directives in the same way as all other students,” she added.

School policies also encourage teachers to remain in class with students who do not participate in walkouts. Staff can participate during “non-work time,” she said.

The school regularly assesses its safety protocols, staff indicated. Retzer described Dave Bonner, a school resource officer stationed at SLHS as “pro-active”  and “experienced.” Bonner routinely collaborates with the resource officer at the adjacent Hughes Middle School.

The school installed interior and exterior video surveillance several years ago and is in the process of upgrading older equipment.

Retzer expressed support for the feedback and support received by the school in the past week.

“I know I have hugged my child a little tighter in recent days,” she said.

  • Donald

    I respect student’s should have an opportunity to organize and protest. I also recognize this puts teachers and staff in a very difficult situation. Lastly, I know Principal Retzer will work with the students, staff and teachers to find a workable compromise.


    • Susan Mulligan Miller

      I agree ! I think prohibiting a peaceful walkout would cause more issues and conflict . It also helps the learning environment when students feel they have some control and say in a situation .

    • vdiv

      Teachers and staff are as vulnerable as their students, if not even more. They deserve a safe working environment, should be walking out too.

  • 30yearsinreston

    If anyone thinks that untrained civilians can protect children from gunmen armed with battlefield weapons, they are the crazy ones
    This would lead to a disaster and more deaths

    • Mike M

      So, you are saying train the civilians?

      • 40yearsinreston


        • Mike M

          Got substance?

          • 40yearsinreston

            lay off the NRA kool-aid

      • meh

        Nah, just make it a gun free zone. That’ll work

  • Mike M

    Emotionalism is for losers. Get back to class, slacker [email protected]!

  • Anonymous Person

    Sally and Frank can’t read, but they can stage walkouts that should be lauded above their academic success falling behind that of most of the rest of the developed, and some of the developing, world.


  • RestonAssurance

    Good for those kids! A new wave of eligible voters will be sure to vote come 2020 after doing the adults’ work. Bye-bye has-been legislators.

    • Anonymous Person

      They can’t even read the ballot, based on what they’re spending their time worrying about and doing! How can you expect them to know that you need them to vote for people that want to bilk them out of a future via taxation to keep buying reliable votes, when they can’t make out any of the names on the piece of paper in front of them?!?

      Stop being silly. Schools should get back into their core function, teaching, rather than all these other social experiments.

      • RestonAssurance

        Demeaning smart kids doesn’t negate their informed power come 2020.
        Buying reliable votes smells exactly like the NRA.

    • meh

      These are the same kids that were eating tide-pods like 3 weeks ago. Now you think they can help shape legislation? Let me guess, as long as they can pull the ‘D’ lever that’s all that matter.s….right?

      • RestonAssurance

        The exact kids eating Tide pods? You have an inventory list of which kids ate the pods? Nice generalization.


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