Safe at School

Locks, lights, out of sight.

Don’t make a sound. Even if your mind is screaming to run – stay calm. Hide. Don’t leave your hiding spot to help anyone. Don’t be a hero. Don’t call your parents, the school will tell them. Don’t even whisper. Keep your phone off. Stay calm. Stay calm. Just stay calm.

These are rules drilled into every student’s head from a young age in America. It’s no secret the USA has the highest rate of school shootings among all other developed countries. March of 2020 was the first March in 18 years that America did not have a school shooting; a global pandemic that shut down schools across America was the only thing that stopped the violence. Sadly, this halt in school shootings was not prolonged. This year alone, there have already been over 100 school shootings in America, resulting in an estimated 21 deaths and 56 injuries. 

Thankfully, schools are doing everything within their power to minimize the risk of these tragic incidents. From drills to lectures, they’re trying to teach students how to react in this potential situation.

Although students may not feel safe hiding in a dark room, it is far safer than running away in no particular direction. Some may think otherwise, but in 2018, a shooter in Florida pulled the fire alarm to get the students out in the open and killed 17 people. Even if students and staff members feel like sitting ducks, staying put is safer than the alternative, especially when the location of the shooter is unknown.

Law enforcement is present at multiple Joshua campuses. Despite their friendly demeanors, the JISD police officers are trained to react quickly if the incident ever occurs. 

In the first grade, my second year hearing about these drills, my teacher told us that she would die for us. She said even if we heard a gunshot, screams, or saw her get hurt, we were not to move from our hiding spot. Our safety was her top priority. It was a terrifying thing for a six-year-old to hear, but that goes to show how far teachers are willing to go to protect their students.

These tragedies are terrifying to students, as well as parents. They’re given very little information and have almost no contact with their child(ren). It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have their child in danger but, even worse, being unable to help them. All they can do during a scenario such as this is wait for updates and watch the news. 

Whether one believes the cause of this ever growing epidemic is gun control, bullying, or the mentality of the shooter, no one can deny there is a problem. Despite the various causes, this violence can be prevented if the warning signs are caught early enough. Talk to peers and speak to an adult if something seems off about someone you know. There is always someone you can speak to if you feel lost or alone. Do not resort to hurting others, or yourself. 

Our hearts go out to the students at Timberview High School who had to endure this terrifying reality last week. We hope for speedy recoveries of those hospitalized, as well as the students and teachers, who will remain in our thoughts.