High school graduation rates up locally and statewide

(Western Mass News photo)

As students go back to school in Florida, school violence is on the minds of students here in the Pioneer Valley.

More and more students are speaking now out about the violence they're seeing across the country.

Central High School students Elijah Ayres and Sydney Gruneiro said young people are speaking up more after the recent school violence in Florida .

"I definitely think it's something people are talking about just because it's not the first time it's happened," said Ayres.

Ayres and Gruneiro said Springfield schools like Central are taking school safety very seriously.

"I do feel safe in this school, and in Springfield and everyone's doing what they can to not have it happen at Central or any Springfield public school," said Ayres.

At Central there is a security checkpoint when you enter school.

"Central High School has a single access point. Central High has a Springfield Police Officer present throughout the day. We have our security guard. School uniforms are a big plus for us," said Central High School Principal Tad Tokarz.

Those procedures ease some of the anxieties students might have when seeing school violence erupt elsewhere.

Students also told Western Mass News they feel young people are more likely to say something today if they see something, and they feel it's important to talk to parents and trusted adults about the overall issue of school safety.

"One of my teachers said we do talk about it more often than others and at home my mom tells me what to do in that situation," said Gruneiro.

Both Sydney and Elijah welcome the fact that more and more students are speaking out against the violence.

"People shouldn't be afraid of going to school, and get an education without someone coming in and having their lives taken. So I feel this has happened so many times, it's like enough is enough," said Ayres

The feeling of wanting to do something is evident at a growing number of school districts across the country as students see what's happening and say they want to do something about it.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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