EDITORIAL: Communication should be clearer with sensitive issues

This editorial urges for more transparency when there are threats made to student safety.

Caroline Raps

This editorial urges for more transparency when there are threats made to student safety.

We’ve grown up with school shootings. They have been ingrained into our minds since Sandy Hook. Almost every year since, there has been a major school shooting that makes nationwide headlines. Unfortunately, the Northborough-Southborough community is not immune to these threats, but there are ways in which those in power can help us feel safe in these situations.

While we have been fortunate enough to never have had a school shooting within our walls, our middle schools and high school have had multiple false threats about possible attacks, the most recent in Dec. 2019. These threats are frightening, but a lack of early and clear communication from the administration made the situation even worse.

While there are several legal reasons students can’t be given every single detail about these circumstances, administrators should be more transparent with students about what is happening in the building in which they spend six or more hours each day. As students, we have a right to know if our safety is threatened and what we can do to avoid this potential risk. We also deserve to know all we legally can about dangerous situations.

Yes, administrators and others can make the argument that some students might be alarmed by the details, but we have all grown up in a culture in which this is our reality. We are familiar with the ALICE drills, the bulletproof backpack and the ample coverage of American school shootings. It’s still scary, but many of us don’t know any different. Algonquin is safe, but we all know it’s not immune to these risks. 

Many of us are more scared by the secrecy than the facts. Of course, many of the details have to be withheld from current investigations, but communicating this with students directly is better than letting the rumors manifest. We are understanding people, and we are not mad that we couldn’t know. We were mad because many of us were never told the reason that no information was given. 

Communication is key. It helps to eliminate rumors (which were profuse in the weeks following the threats) and provides us, students who spend much of our waking hours here, a sense of calm and stability in our current culture of gun mania. 

While this information was eventually shared, letting students know as early as possible can eliminate many of the rumors and uncertainty that lead to our fear. Through the simple act of clearly telling students and faculty as early as possible what they can know and reasons other information must be withheld, we would feel much more secure during these tumultuous times.   

This unsigned editorial reflects the views of The Harbinger Editorial Board.