Community gives thoughts on shootings


Sierra Yost

Students crouch under desk to simulate potential active shooter drill.

Taylor S. Fischbeck, Reporter

Students have all been living with threats about school shootings but few have asked what students and staff, as well as parents, have to say about why this is happening and how it affects them.

The shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, often marks the first school shooting recorded and covered in the media.

History Channel’s website states, “The Columbine shooting was, at the time, the worst high school shooting in U.S. history and prompted a national debate on gun control and school safety.”

The number of shootings has increased to 270 per year since the Columbine shooting. Media continues reporting the shootings and students are clearly affected by this as school shootings become part of their reality.

Sophomore Sam Ford said, “It’s kind of just something that’s always in the back of your head. [Something] to worry about.”

Worry may not be on the forefront of someone’s mind but there’s a small piece of someone that worries about it. They may ask if they’ll be safe or survive. It’s scary to think your life may be cut short.

Amy Cook, a parent of a junior high school student, said, “As a parent, I’m always kind of concerned. What’s it going to be like for my kid or what might happen [if they go through that?]”

Cook brings a valid question to mind. Going through a mass shooting can be traumatizing and for some students, they might never recover from the emotional trauma. On April 13, 2009–10 years after the Columbine shooting–Susan Donaldson James wrote an article for ABCNews about the victims’ post-traumatic stress and how the smallest thing could set it off.

“[Anne-Marie] Hochhalter said the smell of nail polish or formaldehyde can set her off, reminding her of her recovery in the hospital… .” Hochhalter was paralyzed from the waist down after Columbine. Something so small causes her to revisit the pain she went through and that’s what it’s like for others as well.

Anxiety corresponds with PTSD as well. It can give people anxiety or cause someone’s anxiety to shoot through the roof, making PTSD even worse.

The Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida made a movement with gun control happen. Then, the Santa Fe shooting happened, making emotional trauma that made gun control an even bigger debate.

Sophomore Caley Fitz said, “[The age to own a gun] should be higher because people’s brains are still developing and they’re not sure what they’re doing yet…so, I think a better age would be 21-25.”

The school’s Resource Officer, Elayne Franco, states, “I’m a big advocate on arming the staff. Obviously, there needs to be a lot of training that comes along with it and on a volunteer basis, you don’t want to force them to do it.”

Not everyone agrees with that. Cook says that allowing teachers to have guns is a “whole other ballgame.” Guns in school have created problems but if the school allows some teachers/staff to own guns, students and parents may feel safer.