Our Schools Don’t Feel Safe


Creative Commons License, Liberty University

Student and teacher safety–what should be a right–now comes at a premium in the aftermath of recent school shootings near and far.

Denisse Ordonez, Guest Writer

Our school campuses seem to never feel safe nowadays. According to NPR News, as of March 29, “74 people have been killed or injured by guns at American schools this year.” 

In November, a school shooting took place at the University of Virginia, when one student shot and killed three student-athletes and injured two others after returning from a field trip. In January, a school shooting took place in Newport News, Virginia, involving a six year-old student who brought his mother’s gun to school and shot his very own teacher, almost killing her. And lastly, just a few weeks ago another school shooting took place in Nashville, Tennessee, in which a former student shot up a private Christian school and killed three young students and three staff members.

Students and teachers are not safe from the dangers of gun violence on any American school campus, and that’s a huge issue. We all attend our classes to learn and grow as individuals, but that tends to be hard to do when we are worried for our safety when entering an environment that should feel comfortable and secure. While reading about and listening to coverage of these horrible events happening to students and teachers, it is hard to feel safe. In fact it is easy to feel unsafe in our own school. 

Just last week, before entering spring break, a shooting threat was made at our very own school. Unfortunately, similar threats were made at other FCPS secondary and high schools recently. This threat was posted on social media and addressed by principal Alfonso Smith through communication with families. Despite the threat, the school day went without incident.

But is our school necessarily safe?

Sophomore Kbrom Mehari states that he does not feel safe when entering our school’s campus. “I do not feel safe when entering the school because [school shootings] have become normalized in America.”

One popular solution to gun violence in America is legislation. Unfortunately many of these measures have not been passed. 

Sophomore Lilly Gonzalez hopes that legislation can lead to safer schools. “I don’t feel safe at school sometimes.. There have been many scary issues that have been taking place recently involving guns and schools. Our government needs to make stricter gun laws. We are just children; this shouldn’t be happening to us. Our teachers are not safe either, which is completely not fair. I want to feel safer when attending school,” Gonzalez said.

Sophomore Isaiah Reed believes that more availability of mental health resources can make for safer schools. “A solution to gun violence could be schools providing more mental health aid to students because a lot of times the students who bring guns to school have other things on their mind that are causing them to feel one way or another,” Reed said.

One popular precaution in schools across the country is safety drills like our active shooter drills. Sophomore Faizan Parvez believes that the active school shooter safety drills we do in our school doesn’t really help. “Most of the time the active shooter knows the way around the buildings, and they know where we are hiding. These drills don’t actually teach you what to do if there is an active shooter,” Parvez said.

The current safety drill precautions we do in school are probably the least effective. Turning off the lights and sitting in a quiet classroom will not make much of a difference. A shooter can easily break through the doors and take the lives of every single student just in that classroom.

There must be solutions. There are a variety of ways to reduce the number of dangerous weapons that can be legally purchased and lead to a danger to society. Virginia State Government can prevent people who pose a heightened risk to community safety from acquiring guns, and those who have legally purchased a gun could be required to take safety classes on how to safely use a gun. Gun shop owners should be required to run background checks and make sure the person being in charge of a deadly weapon is in the right state of mind.

In light of the shooting threat at our own school and the actual shootings throughout the country this school year, American communities need to find answers on how we can make a difference and change in our schools. America cannot keep normalizing school shootings. We, as a country and community, need to take action and make our schools a safer environment for our students and very own teachers. We need to protect my generation. We are future doctors, lawyers, scientists, and so forth. Our teachers as well should NEVER have to question their safety at their everyday job. It is simply not fair.