Editorial: School Shootings Must End

School is a place for education and community. It’s here that students are supposed to feel comfortable and safe. Four of the deadliest mass shootings in America have been at schools, including the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 and wounded 15 a little more than two weeks ago. Unfortunately, schools have became common targets for such horrendous violence, as shown by the 18 school shootings so far this year. With our news feeds so flooded by these stories, young people have become aware of the reality that is gun violence.

We are shocked and appalled by school shootings, not only because of their extreme violence, but also because these shootings are so common that we seem to have become numb to the violence. That numbness is a national crisis just as serious as the violence, and we offer our full support to the students in Florida who are calling for change in the nation’s gun laws.

We agree that Northwood is generally a safe environment. However, every  school shooting is a particularly personal violation for us, even when the assault is 1,500 miles away. We shudder to think of such bloodshed in our sacred spaces, such as in front of the fireplace in the living room during flex, in the auditorium during school meeting, or in the dining hall at lunch. We feel vulnerable when we think about the possibility of an active shooter on our campus.

As the mass murder continues to bring attention to national gun legislation, we must take a serious look at Northwood’s lack of preparation in the event of an attack. Some seniors recall one drill about 4 years ago in which the school bell was rung to signal everyone to run into the woods. There have been no drills since then. Our school currently does not have an emergency plan or drills to train students and staff on what to do in the event of a mass shooter or other incident that may threaten student lives, and we call on the school to develop one promptly. Northwood is in urgent need to improve preparation for these events in order to keep students and staff safe from a possible school shooting. We hope to never need to execute such an emergency plan, but having one will bring us some comfort, because contemplating a mass shooting without one is terrifying. We further call on the school to create an emergency communication system, probably using SMS messages, that will notify the school community, including parents, of a crisis, give instructions, and the eventual all-clear.

While we support many efforts to make schools safer, we disapprove of the idea to weaponize schools and have grave concerns about President Trump’s call to arm one in five teachers. We think that’s a terrible idea. We are also troubled by the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s insistence that the widespread availability of guns in the United States has nothing to do with gun violence. This, coupled with the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is prohibited from conducting research on gun violence in the United States, stunts our ability to effectively deal with the problem.

We support the petition urging President Trump and members of Congress to pass legislation that bans the sale of assault weapons, prohibits the sale of high-capacity magazines, and closes the loophole in our background check law. If you agree with the petition, please sign it to show your support. We also stand with Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior Emma Gonzalez who famously said at a rally following the shooting:

Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers nowadays, saying that all we are is self-involved and trend-obsessed, and hushing us into submission when our message doesn’t reach the ears of the nation? We are prepared to call BS!

Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA, telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this: We call BS!

They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence: We call BS!

They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun: We call BS!

They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars: We call BS!

They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred: We call BS!

That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works: We call BS!

We urge the community to educate itself about these incidents and learn more about gun violence in America and other countries. Additionally, we encourage all who are able attend the March on Washington on March 24th to show their support for the victims and send a message to the world. Register to vote. If you are not 18, but will be 18 on election day, you can still register now.  Write to or call your elected officials to add your voice to the national discussion. Please offer your support for those who need it, and do your best to help prevent this tragedy from happening again.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent job on this editorial. The school is working on an emergency plan including school-wide messaging. It is important that we make sure this happens in a timely fashion. Thank you for your thoughtful writing.

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