Imagine this. Imagine sitting in a school library, a completely normal day. Then, in a matter of seconds, one statement changes your whole day. “This is not a drill.” Imagine with fear texting your family thinking this may be your last text to them. Sending I love you’s in fear it may be your last. You’re praying for all of your friends in the building wondering if you’ll ever see them again. You’re stuck, anxiously waiting for the next thing to happen thinking, “will there even be a next thing?” You can’t breathe; it feels like your world has stopped before anything has even happened. This is a reality many students face every school day, and we as intellectuals need to have a call to action.
According to cnn.com, in 2018 there have been 17 school shootings in the United States. Four months into the year, and there have been almost 20 school shootings in America. How can we make it so what we imagine doesn’t become their reality? The answer to the problem is school safety. America can help the students by enforcing the rules and regulations placed in the schools. Every morning when walking through the school doors, children should be required to go through metal detectors, reducing the amount of weapons and other illegal items brought onto school property. These days, most people believe the answer to school safety is to put a smile on their face and to treat everyone with kindness, but in reality, what will that do? Yes, it is important to treat others the way you want to be treated, but kindness won’t keep out the bad people.
On nypost.com, Gregory Floyd wrote, “Guidance counselors, sensitivity training and smiling faces greeting students at the door are no substitute for detecting and keeping a potentially deadly weapon from [entering] the school building.”
Most kids go to school with a lack of confidence and anxiety about getting through the day. Something as simple as going to school shouldn’t bring kids as much fear and anxiety as it does.
“Not many students can say they feel 100 percent okay with going to school. Students should be able to feel confident that our safety is put first,” junior Lauren B. said.
Another way America can prevent school shootings is to find the problem before it happens. Most school shootings are a result of bullying or “revenge” for something that happened to the shooter. If schools can protect the children’s mental health, it will reduce the amount of violence in the school. We can achieve this by having school psychiatrists and therapists on site at schools. If they can find a way to minimize the pain the person is feeling, we can start putting an end to school violence. Many groups have already put a start to these actions.
The group “Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States” has made a project to deal with youth violence. One of their proposals states, “A public health approach to protecting children as well as adults from gun violence involves three levels of prevention: universal approaches promoting safety and well-being for everyone; practices for reducing risk and promoting protective factors for persons experiencing difficulties, and interventions for individuals where violence is present or appears imminent,” according to their website.
Philip Lazarus, the director of the Florida International University psychological training team and someone who has served on a team that responds to school shootings also said, “If you can intervene as early as possible and provide a ton of supports around these troubled youth, you can really prevent this from occurring.”
Even though school safety is important to people like Philip Lazarus and me, some may believe it is taken too far. The metal detectors could make the school feel like a “prison” or the school psychiatrist may be an “invasion of privacy,” but wouldn’t you rather be safe and have protection than nothing at all?
“School safety is important but how will we know when too much is too much? Kids should feel safe, but it shouldn’t feel like a prison everyday at school,” junior Bailey F. said.
In order to make everyone happy we need to have a balance of safety and freedom. These actions need to take place in order to protect the children of America. Don’t let what we can only imagine become their reality.