Mabton High School students took charge of a potentially violent situation on Wednesday, Sept. 11. They acted together and used communication systems and training to prevent a possible threat from escalating into an act of school and community violence. This is no small charge. The many pieces of prevention training paid off.

Students, staff, and parents each carried out their respective important roles in advancing school safety by demonstrating safety protocols which were clearly in place during the district-wide school lockdown.

School leadership, with demonstrations from students, school and law enforcement officials, were able to reassure parents and fellow classmates that Mabton schools are prepared and generally very safe places.

The Patriot’s Day demonstration showcased high levels of cooperative safeguards which in turn, generated a secure, school climate for all.

The Mabton students who communicated their concerns to school officials – seized control of a potentially dangerous situation. The students were responsible for doing their part in maintaining a safe school environment – using school and district communication systems and coordinating with their security guard personnel, along with police and interlocal partnerships.

Administrators, from this unexpected experience can show now, that by doing the work up front, to create a caring, trained, supportive and vigilant school community, can translate into a culture of safety.

Violence is never a solution to personal problems - Mabton students recognize that fact.

On a Day of National Remembrance, they reminded everyone they are part of the positive solution and their call to duty reinforced that truth.

Although there is no absolute guarantee something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening without preparation and something happening in an environment of readiness.

We all struggle to understand why these events happen and, more importantly, how they can be prevented.

Mabton students clearly understood by reporting important information to trusted school officials, they may have saved lives. They showed all of us how proactive communication and a united, action-oriented community response can work - we should all replicate and salute their efforts.

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board.

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