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Local Students on School Shootings, Unabridged

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Page 6 of 8

Title: Speak Up

I am a freshman at Mckinleyville High School and I was so excited, but also nervous, to come to high school. I was nervous because I thought that my teachers and students were going to hate me and that I wasn't going to pass my classes. After a few weeks, it started getting a lot better and it wasn't that bad. School was going great, but then we started hearing about these school shootings around the world and kids getting shot and teachers, too. It's scary to think about what people are capable of and why would they want to do that to kids or anybody.

When I think to myself, I wonder why school shooters go into schools for no reason. Is it maybe because they had something bad happen to them in high school or they had a child that got shot in a school shooting? I wonder if they think about how it would affect the lives of the people that they took or are thinking to take. Just think about it. How could you go into a school or anywhere and go on a shooting rampage? I wonder sometimes how people could do this to kids and what made them want to go into a school and shoot people. I could barely imagine just seeing one of my best friends getting shot and how that would have impacted my life or how my parents would react. I go to school wanting to learn not be scared for my life to hear about another school shooting in the neighborhood or even hear the school alarm go off.

Guns shouldn't be taken away from people because people are always going to have guns, whether they're illegal or legal. It's just how things are going to be. I just don't know why people could do this. From 2013 through the end 2017, there were 305 school shootings in the United States. Since 2018 started, there have been shootings in Alabama, Michigan, Virginia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, L.A, Kentucky, Texas and North Carolina. The shootings aren't going to stop there. They are going to be happening more and more if we don't do anything to stop it and resolve the problem, so kids can feel safe again.

Since I am only a freshman in high school, I honestly have no idea what we can do to prevent school shootings from happening. Maybe if the government put more security features in the schools like a metal detector or something like, that might have an impact to try and solve the problem. I feel like kids shouldn't have to worry about a school shooting and getting shot, and instead they should worry more about graduating and wanting to learn as much as they can. I go to school to learn and to feel safe but these shootings are making me not want to go to school. I guess I just feel like our government is failing all the kids that want to learn because the government isn't really doing anything to stop the problem. I miss the days when I first became a freshman at MHS and all I was really worried about was grades and drama. Now since I am hearing about these shootings at schools, it makes me more fearful than anything at my school. All I want is to be safe at the place that I am learning at and learn as much as I can.

— Rose Christie, ninth grade

That Chilling Moment That Could Change Lives Forever

I've been a student for some time, elementary, middle, and high school. Sometimes I have felt unsafe at school. In my first year of high school, someone brought a gun and showed it to me. I didn't do anything about it, as I thought they would hurt me if I told. At that moment I knew why bringing weapons to school was prohibited. The safety of students is important. Administration tries to prevent the worst from happening to their students. That someone was someone I talked to in class but we weren't friends. Especially after that, I knew they would be trouble.

After school that day, I told my mom about it and she said to stay away from them, and never be friends with them. I didn't tell anyone about the incident, as I knew it would get me in trouble. If that gun came out of the backpack, it would've been dangerous. Instead it was contained, so I thought we were safe. However, sometimes that's not the case, the gun could've been taken out and hurt people. For instance, my classmates and friends. That student was armed so anything could have happened.

The debate of allowing guns to be purchased isn't the problem. It's who buys the gun, not the gun itself. If I had told that the student brought a gun to school, that would have triggered a nerve for them to actually use it, and put lives in danger. The student could have went after the people he showed first. That meant I would've been in danger or something worse could have happened. I would rather have my life at risk than my entire school or classmates. That could have been an outcome if I told administration. Sometimes telling isn't always the best solution to a real and serious situation. People could have been hurt and I don't think I could have lived with that. It would've been all my fault, and I probably couldn't live with myself if that actually happened.

When I saw the gun in the backpack, I admit I was scared but I showed no fear on the outside. You wouldn't believe at school your life is also in danger. School should be a place where you confide with your friends without being scared that you could get hurt, or worse. School should be a place to learn, hang out with friends and create memories. Not the horrifying memory of your friends, classmates, teachers, administration or even yourself being shot.

To purchase a gun, there should be a very detailed background check. I know some types of guns are required to have that. See if the person has a background of mental illness, which causes a lot of the school shootings. Some states don't follow this law and this could be a change that should happen.

— Kirsten Ford, 11th grade


The Problem Causing Tragedies

In the world we live in today, school shootings don't came as a surprise to us. Teenagers were born in a world where school shootings are a yearly thing. We go to school every day fearing if today will be the day that our school pops up on the news. We live in a world where violence is normal and talking things out is unheard of. As students, we shouldn't have to fear the simple act of going to school and learning. Quite honestly, we fear "when" we will have a school shooting not "if." Our society is so set on fighting with each other based on their political views that we are missing the real problem of this day and age.

As a teenager, I can hardly stand using social media. All I ever see on social media is people placing blame on other people based purely on their political affiliations. Why do people insist on placing the blame of tragic school shootings on the people that they grew up with? These people that we should be standing next to in this time of a nationwide conflict are the people we are, instead, pointing fingers at. We are so focused on finding someone to blame for this major problem that we aren't taking action against the real issue.

Instead of saying that it is this generation that is the problem, why don't we look at who created this generation. Teenagers are being raised by adults who don't pay attention to you, until you do something wrong. These people who are supposed to love and cherish you, are the same people who bully you and make you feel like less of a person. The major mental health epidemic has caused so much hurt that the average person is in a near constant state of mental pain, and that is where our society is failing.

As a student in high school, I can say that bullying by our peers and even our families, is a major problem that needs to be addressed. The amount of school shootings in the United States will rise drastically throughout the years if we continue to make no change. And until we as the people, take action toward helping our fellow acquaintances come out of the black hole that is poor mental health, then our students in all of these schools will never be safe and will fear a shooting more than they will want to learn.

— Elizabeth Wainwright, 11th grade

The Time for Change is Now

I'm a freshman in high school. When news came out about the Parkland shootings, I was still in school. It was second period and news got around pretty quick. It came up in conversations throughout the day but never really made it past that. When I got home I was watching the news like usual with my mom, but it was different today. Instead of the usual presidential nonsense, the channel was filled with videos of the shooting that happened earlier that day and grieving parents hurting beyond belief. I watched my mom's heart break more and more as we continued to watch the news for those 17 people who she had never met, because she knew that any of those kids could have been me. No mother should ever have to worry that when they send their kids to school, that they may never come home but, unfortunately, that's the reality of the world we live in. The world I grew up in. But it doesn't have to be the world my children grow up in.

At school the next day I couldn't get it off my mind. In Biology, the teacher was going through some lecture and I was bored to tears. My mind couldn't help but wander. As I  looked around the classroom, a couple things caught my eye. The black button at the back of the class, the one that we would use to call the office if anything went wrong. I noticed the wall at the back of the classroom filled with panel after panel of glass; it was earthquake proof but definitely not bulletproof. And then I saw the kid who sat at the back of the class, the one no one seemed to notice or pretended not to notice. I couldn't help but tear up a little because, honestly, it's just so disgusting. It's disgusting to think about all of the kids who lost their lives in the Parkland shootings, or any school shootings for that matter. Kids my age who woke up for school one day, and never came home. Kids who went to school one day under the reasonable assumption that they would be safe.

There are many things that kids have to worry about, some more than others, whether it be family issues, friend drama or a big test. But one thing that no kid should ever have to worry about is feeling safe at school. So I'm sick and tired of the excuses because there is no good excuse when it comes to the safety of our children. The time for change is now.

— Alexandra Clifford, ninth grade



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