A New High School Will Feature Zig-Zag Hallways Where Kids Can Hide From A Shooter

by Christina Marfice

Here’s the newest way schools are handling the possibility of a mass shooting on their grounds

In WWI, when soldiers were building trenches, they had an idea that was revolutionary at the time: Build them in a zig-zag, so if enemy soldiers got inside, there would be corners and walls to help you hide from their gunfire. Now, high schools are being designed the same way to give kids a place to hide in case their school becomes the scene of the next mass shooting.

Fruitport High School in Western Michigan just began a $48 million construction project to make the school safer should a shooting happen there. It includes things like curved hallways to reduce sightlines throughout the building, “jutting barriers” where students can take cover from gunfire, and classrooms that are spaced far apart with blind zones where students can hide from the windows.

Yep, America in 2019. We don’t actually fix gun violence, like every other developed country on Earth has done. We just make it so maybe fewer kids will die when someone shoots up their school.

This comes after 2018, when there were 24 school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths. Since Columbine, more than 228,000 students have been exposed to gun violence during school hours, according to the Washington Post. More than a quarter of a million students have been exposed to a deadly problem that we could just fix. Cool, America.

This is just the reality we’ve apparently accepted. Fruitport High School is far from the only place where insane measures are being put into place in case of a shooting, instead of, you know, ensuring the shooting can’t happen in the first place by strengthening gun laws. In Jefferson County, Colorado, teachers were given buckets and cat litter in case any of their students needed to use the bathroom during an active shooter drill. Teachers are given Sharpies so they can write on kids’ bodies the times tourniquets are applied. Bulletproof backpacks are the hot back-to-school item this year that everyone seems to want to have. Bulletproof backpacks.

And yet, all any of these measures will do is maybe help reduce the body count in the event of a shooting. They don’t treat the actual problem, which is that people are 25 times more likely to die from gun violence in the U.S. than in any other developed nation.

Even Fruitport’s architect in charge of designing all the school’s new safety features, Matt Slagle, admits this isn’t a real solution.

“Unfortunately, that’s the way things are now,” he said. “We’ll never make it completely safe from someone who desires to cause harm.”

But modeling schools after war trenches is just the newest way we can attempt to make our kids feel like they’ll be OK, while actively refusing to actually keep them safe.