CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A hot topic in the U.S. right now is school safety. Many government officials and parents are discussing what to do for their children's wellbeing and how to defend them, but what about the students themselves?One of the questions in the 2012 Gallop Student Poll asked students how safe they thought they were at school, and the percentage of teens who feel unsafe was surprisingly high. Only 48 percent reported feeling safe at school. At Nitro High School, only 37 percent of students feel safe.As seen by these results, something needs to be done. It seems schools could use this data to help improve student's feelings of safety in their surroundings.Five Nitro High School sophomores were asked how they felt about their safety and how they thought safety at the school could be improved. All five brought up one area of improvement: the school's breezeway, an outdoor covered walkway.Sarah Clegg said she feels safe at school, and when asked how she thought the school's safety could improve, she suggested enclosing the breezeway.Douglas King, on the other hand, doesn't feel safe at school. He said the school should either have a policeman outside or a teacher, but if the money could be acquired, he agreed it would be best to enclose the breezeway.
Makayla Shaffer feels like quite a few people at school seem somewhat threatening and said the breezeway is probably the center of unease at the school. She recommended enclosing it as well.Though Hannah Strom feels safe, she also said the breezeway should be enclosed. Yasmeen Jenami only feels safe in certain parts of the school. She, too, said the breezeway should definitely be enclosed.Four of these five students are in Susan Sweat's Honors English 10 class, which recently discussed how the school could improve its safety. During the class period, all students shared concerns about locations of unease and seeming threats at the school.It seemed that every student had ideas on how to improve safety, all centered on the breezeway. Students' concerns about the breezeway are due to the fact that anyone could walk through with students.Many feel enclosing the breezeway would be ideal, but that could be very expensive. Posting teachers outside to monitor it would scatter them, making the educational process difficult.Safety will always be a topic everyone will be focused on, but it's not for adults only. It's time for teens to give their ideas. Every school has people with ideas to help provide a safer environment. Part of solving safety and other problems in our schools is using our students to help.