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Local Students on School Shootings, Unabridged 

Page 7 of 8

Things Students Worry About

I have been in school for 11 years now and I have never had to worry about a school shooter until now. When I was younger, all I worried about was who I was going to play on the playground with or that it would hurt when my mom pulled out my tooth or whether or not the swings were going to be open. As you get older, you start to realize that there are more things to be worried about. A school shooter should not be one of them.

CNN said that there have already been 14 school shootings in 2018 and we are only three months in. Still to this day, nothing is being done. People may say that enforcing the gun laws and making it harder for people to get guns will fix the problem, but I find that hard to believe. The guns aren't at fault; the people are. The people who are wanting to kill others will still find a way to do so. They could use other weapons if they wanted to or they will still get a hand on a gun. The drinking age is 21, right? Kids underage still get alcohol. What makes people think that people won't get a gun if they really try?

Going to school everyday not knowing if there will be a shooter on campus is not a way I want to live nor will I want my kids when the time comes to grow up with that fear either. So let's make a change today. Why don't teachers have a gun in each classroom? Why don't we have cops or security guards on campus? If our teachers were prepared with their own guns then it would make everyone else feel safer. Our teachers just go in with the mindset that we are going to sit, be quiet and have things ready to throw while all of our windows and doors are locked. We should have a different more powerful plan rather than going in scared. A kid in one of my classes once said how he will be the one to distract the shooter or try and keep the door closed while everyone else runs out the back door. For a highschool kid to commit to being a martyr to save his peers means that there is something wrong with the world we live in. Clearly as of right now no one has come up with a logical solution so maybe we have to think out of the box to protect our lives now and in the future.

— Jada Bailey, 11th grade

Time for a Change

Every fall I walk into my first period class eager to start a new school year. I think about everything I am going to accomplish this year. The thought of an active shooter showing up on campus is one that never really crosses my mind. Everyone thinks it's never going to happen to them, but what happens when it does? We are taught to hide under our desk. We are taught to be silent. We are taught to run to the nearest open classroom if we are outside, but you better be fast because after that door is locked there is no chance of getting inside that classroom. We are taught to stay away from the windows that can't shield us from a bullet. We are taught to put our lives at risk because there is no way those small desks that high school students can't fit under could ever protect us.

What we are taught and what we should be taught are on two completely different spectrums. We should be told to grab a heavy object, like a book, to throw at the intruder if they enter the room. We should be told that we have a higher chance of survival if we overwhelm the attacker at the door with an object dense enough to injure them before they can injure us. We should have more meetings as a school to learn how to protect ourselves the best we can. Instead, we are taught to be sitting ducks with high hopes of making it out alive.

Teachers tell us if they die there is a black button right next to the door that immediately contacts the office if we need it. They tell us which key hanging from the lanyard around their neck will lock the door. Our teachers tell us that they will protect us the best they can in every situation. They'd rather be killed than have a student being in the line of fire. They tell us to stay as calm as we can even if your best friend was just shot right in front of you. If your teacher is dead that means the shooter has found a way to enter the room. If your teacher is dead, you probably are, too.

Our teachers never really talk about the possibility of a shooting happening at our school. It's only brought up when it happens somewhere that's not your school, because if we think about it too much, we will make ourselves paranoid. It's never going to happen at your school, right? No one will ever be able to answer that question with complete honesty. Something as simple as a meaningless threat, like a picture posted on Snapchat about a school in Virginia also referred to as "MHS," needs to be treated the same way as a very serious threat. If not treated seriously like it was at my school, it could've been our lives lost that day.

It's time that we come together as a nation to support every student. No matter what efforts are made by our teachers to support us academically, to mold us into the people that we are today and who we will be in the future, no matter how much we are told our safety is always going to be put first, we will always be left questioning whether or not we could actually survive an active shooter situation. The truth of the matter is that if an active shooter shows up on campus, no one will ever be absolutely positive that they will be able to properly protect themselves.

Kendra Turner, 11th grade

Walk Up, Not Out

On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 people were killed and 14 more injured in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was a former student of the school who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. The Parkland shooting was a very traumatic and upsetting experience for most people. It has caused many students to not feel safe at school and caused many more people to want better gun control.

Because of the shooting, thousands of students walked out at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes on March 14, 2018, to remember the 17 people that were killed, but what are they expecting to happen as a result of this walkout? Was the walkout intended to pressure congress to approve gun control legislation or to show sympathy to the 17 victims? My question, along with many others is, why walk out when you can walk up? Instead of abandoning our education for 17 minutes, why not make a change by walking up to 17 people or more throughout the day and saying something nice or helping them in any way.

School should be a safe place. Nobody should feel like an outcast or like they have no friends. I believe although Cruz may not have been in the best mental state, the students could have done something, whether it be talking to him or waving while they pass each other in the hall. I am in no way saying the students are the reason this happened or that they could stop a school shooter at all, but I believe kindness has a huge part in this incident.

Nikolas Cruz is not in the right mental state and should not have been allowed to own a gun for this reason and just for the fact that he is too young to need a semi automatic assault rifle. Before the shooting, Cruz made it very obvious he wanted to shoot up the school by his posts on Instagram and even by informing Trump he was going to.

Feeling picked on or teased at school makes you feel worthless and can make you go insane. Feeling alone in a school full of people can make you feel crazy, especially if you're not in the best mental state. I think there are so many starting points from this problem weather it be Congress allowing Cruz to own a gun with his mental illnesses or someone not making a big enough deal about the signs he showed prior to the shooting, to people just standing up and being nice. There are so many other things that could have been done to stop this.

Overall, students of America deserve to go to school everyday and feel that they are in a safe environment and one way to do this is to decrease the chances of school shootings by improving gun laws and also being nice to your classmates.

— Alexa Morehouse, ninth grade

Walk Up, Walk Out and Get Help

All anyone is saying lately is, "Maybe if kids would go up and talk to the quiet kid, or stand up for the kids getting bullied, there wouldn't be school shooting." I honestly disagree with this. As a student, I have seen kids getting bullied and some going up to quiet kids and I don't believe it helps. For example, I befriended someone. Let's call him "Smalls." He was always the quiet kid and got bullied a lot. I became friends with him and everything was good for a while. A couple years later, Smalls went down a different path. One day I saw Smalls and talked to him for a bit. He told me he joined a gang. I figured by the outfit he was wearing. A couple weeks went by and I got a phone call from my mom telling me that one of my friends shot and killed someone and was wanted and she told me it was Smalls. He was found dead a few days later. Yeah, he may not have shot up a school but he did take a different path and did shoot and kill someone. I was friends with him. I stood up for him when he was bullied and he still shot someone. It's mental health problems, not bullying. I'm not sticking up for bullying or anything but I just don't think it's always the case in school shootings or shootings in general.

I do think kids should stand up for other kids getting bullied and talk to quiet kids, not because they think they may one day shoot up their school but because it's the human thing to do. It's the nice thing to do. Imagine you're getting bullied, maybe they are beating you up, wouldn't you want someone to help you? I really believe that school shootings happen because people have mental health issues, not because they are getting bullied. Being bullied could be a factor in this, too, but I don't think it's the main thing. I also feel that kids shouldn't bully, but that honestly has to start with parents. If parents would teach their kids better, or at least punish their kids when they find out they are bullying others, bullying wouldn't happen so much.

In conclusion, people need to stop blaming the bystanders that aren't standing up for victims getting bullied or going over to the quiet kids for the reason schools are getting shot up. Schools are being shot up because kids have mental health issues and aren't getting the help they need. Going back to my story, I feel like I did everything I, as a student and as a friend, could have done for Smalls. He just needed to get help for his mental health. Walk up, walk out but also get help for the kids with mental health issues. This is obviously overlooked by a majority of people. If people keep turning the other cheek, this problem will not end. It will just get worse and worse.

— Ruben Salguero, 11th grade

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