In our view….. No one should fear being shot at school

Story by Lucy Smithwick, Co-Editor-in-chief

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Sandy Hook Elementary School. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD). Columbine High School. Virginia Tech. Santa Fe High School. University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Sangus High School. Butler High School.

Every day, students leave their homes, unsure of how their day will go. Maybe they will have a science test they forgot about. Or get assigned piles of homework for that night. Or go on lockdown for an hour because a gun could be on campus.

America needs to change.

Each of those aforementioned schools, scattered around the country, have seen the face of tragedy. Remembering these names should not be simply something for a school project. At these eight schools, students, teachers and administrators were forced to act in situations they’ve been feared forever.

Like many others, biology teacher Bryce Edwards has a plan to use in the case of a life-threatening emergency.

“I’ve already talked to most of my classes and given roles to certain people,” Edwards said. “Usually I’ll pick one of the stronger people to help me move my desk in front of the door and I have rope in my desk that we could use to tie off the back door. As soon as those things were done, and while they were happening, I would have delegated someone to open the window and start escorting people of the window and out of the building, and tell them to run as far as they could.”

It wouldn’t surprise us if other teachers plan ahead like Edwards. When a person is in charge of keeping up to 40 other people safe, they’re bound to prepare. However, an active shooter situation is not something that teachers should have to prepare for. A fire drill should be the main concern: where to exit, what people should and shouldn’t leave behind, how much they need to stress over the situation. General safety concerns. Not whether or not they need to act as a human shield that day. 

At the MSD shooting, there was a coach whose name made headlines: Aaron Feis. Feis blocked the classroom doorway, saving several students and their families from seeing their names reported by the local news channel that night. 

A teacher sacrificing their future for their students’ potential should not be the norm. No teacher should be expected to save any life other than their own. It is a mystery as to why these drills are still being pounded into the minds of the youth.

But then again, maybe it isn’t.

This is not the first time we’ve written about our opinions on school shootings and gun control. We aren’t students who attend a private school in the safest city in the United States. Even though most schools guarantee a safe space, that should not be restrictive to saving students from discrimination. 

“Our staff here has all been trained in active shooter drills, so we at the very least should have a plan,” Edwards said. “So I think we are more prepared than we could be, than other places might be, but you know nobody’s ever actually prepared for that kind of thing.”

Lockdown is a necessary student experience. Everyone can remember “that one time before school,” or “that one time when we were at recess” when there was a threat. Lockdown drills are only required twice a year. However, there are definitely more than two drills a year and there have been since 2012. 

Why is it so hard to ban guns? Why is it so hard to ban assault rifles? Nobody needs an assault rifle for their livelihood. We understand the desire to keep a handgun at home in case of emergency, but the only reason an assault rifle was made was in order to kill.

It is time to make new laws. A gun for self-defense would not be needed if casual gun carrying laws were better enforced. A person should not be able to buy a gun on a whim. There should definitely be more extensive background checks for everyone inquiring about a purchase.

East Meck should not have to fear being the next Columbine. Things need to change. Now.