By Brahmani Tirumalaraju
School shootings in the United States have rapidly increased and remain at an all-time high for the past several decades. The impact of gun violence in schools affects countless people across the country, and with this news spreading daily, it is inevitable to raise questions and concerns about the school environment and its safety. . I spoke to several peers/students from the Frisco, Plano, and Dallas districts about their perspectives on current issues in their schools. Most of the students I interviewed had never personally been victims of a shooting, but the apparent effects of shootings near their respective homes were significant. Many of them have established the idea that it is difficult to live in a state where constant shootings occur, and they feel that their “safe place” is gradually turning into a main target of brutal violence and ruthless.
The idea of school shootings is extremely frightening to many of us, and we hope shootings in general can decrease. It’s already daunting to see and hear news about it, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone who’s actually been through this pain of losing a friend or family member to of a school shooting.
-Karina W., rising sophomore in the Dallas District
To prepare students and staff, schools in the United States have for many years had procedures in place that construct and mock a certain circumstance of conflict, allowing them to understand what is likely to happen if a intruder were to enter the campus. Usually a member of staff at reception would announce that an exercise was in progress and the teacher would turn off the lights while setting up a blockade at the front door preventing anyone from easily entering. Then the students are asked to huddle in the part of the room that is not visible from the windows and maintain absolute silence. On paper, this seems quick, simple and effective, yet there is a constant concern about the liability of these exercises.
The drills have always seemed semi-effective to me because if a gunfight was really going to happen, I doubt it would be that easy to take cover and assume the shooter didn’t see us. I also really hope I’m not in the hallways or the bathroom should this happen. It’s much more confusing and scary if I’m outside of the classroom, because I’m all alone.
-Razhim L., Rising Junior in the Plano School District
Personally, my schools over the past few years have had at least two lockdown drills a year, and it’s usually less than ten minutes. I remember in college where we would have presentations to educate us on potential threats and what to expect if there was a shooting. I also remember teachers repeatedly making sure to insist that if someone we know potentially hints at a threat, we need to report it to a trusted authority. There have been cases of students posting on their social media accounts that they plan to come to school with a weapon, and they have faced heavy punishment and consequences due to the threats.
Due to threats and the spread of news, one aspect of school shootings is the mental health effects. If you are currently a student at school, being able to talk about how you are feeling right now is crucial during these unpredictable times. After the COVID-19 outbreak, mental health-related illnesses have increased and therefore the importance of seeking advice or talking to someone you trust has increased. Students can be reluctant to talk about their current mental state, and I’ve seen in my interviews that the fear is undeniably clear about school shootings. Mental health issues can stem from a multitude of different reasons, so the benefits of talking to someone are effective in removing any pre-existing trauma and stress. A very close friend of mine said the following about her fight and how the spread of the school shooting news affected her personally:
School shootings have increased in Texas, and I’m more cautious about the current situation at school. I am anxious that we still have gun protection rights in America.
-Ramyaa K., Rising Senior in the Frisco Independent School District
This answer has basically been repeated and agreed upon with several peers I’ve spoken to. As mentioned earlier, the country’s education system/departments have been implementing drills to protect students for countless years, but the main factor behind the tragedies resulting from school shootings has never been dismantled first. venue. Simply placing 10-minute drills and holding group presentations on how to stay safe is not going to make or guarantee student safety at school; the problem does not lie in defense, it lies in prevention. If the nation’s leaders want to keep students safe, the indisputable truth is that we must fight and advocate for improved gun regulations. The trauma, guilt and anxiety that come with the shootings are some of the consequences; the other part is how we as a society actively conform to the abuses of higher power and its desire to protect guns instead of voters.
If we don’t act on gun ownership and recreational access to lethal weapons, shootings will happen constantly and children’s lives will continue to be at stake for years to come. I have never witnessed a school shooting, but as someone who has the podium and the privilege to speak candidly about gun violence in this country, it is absolutely tragic to constantly witness shootings in schools.
The aftermath of a school shooting afflicts those who did not experience the tragedy as well. Indeed, media coverage on the subject causes us to rethink gun ownership, analyze the psychology behind a shooter, reinforce the idea of American unity, and, more profoundly, reimagine our sense of security. .
-Amy C., Rising Senior in the Frisco Independent School District
If you are an adult and know a young person who is currently attending school, talking to them about this issue may help them clear their thoughts and express their feelings. If you need to talk to someone about your mental health, be sure to contact a psychiatrist or counseling program near where you live. For more tips and help, see the following websites for more information.