By Alexis Grammer
Only three months have passed since the turn of the year, and America has already had 12 school shootings. As students across America take a stand against gun violence, local Lakewood student are also voicing their concerns and opinions on what should be done to prevent school shootings.
“Teachers and students need to remain vigilant and need to be taught how to see the warning signs,” stated Makenna Riley, a senior at Lakewood High School.
Riley believes that schools need to take preventative action. “Mental health programs in schools are one solution I would like to see,” she said. According to the “National Institute of Mental Health,” 20 percent of high school students have some sort of mental health issue. The Los Angeles Times studies have shown that 60 percent of all mass shootings from 1900 to 2017 were caused by people with mental health issues. If schools get mental health programs it could have a large benefit.
When it comes to arming teachers, “I am on the fence about it,” said Kevin Krier, the assistant principal at Lakewood. “We are educators, not the police, not security. We are not trained for that. I do however understand the desire to protect our kids, and that is one easy (at least on the surface) solution to the issue.” By arming teachers it could be putting the teachers lives in danger because the police could confuse a teacher with a gun for a shooter.
Some students agree. “Teachers are just people they aren’t trained in shooting,” said Emma Grammer, a sophomore at Marietta High School. “If they have guns I can see a student finding a way to steal the gun and causing another mass shooting.”
High school students are trained on how to respond to a shooter in the school. “My school does drills where we have the local police come in and they shoot blanks,” explained Grammer. “We have to act as if it is the real thing and try to survive by following the planned procedure.” This drill helps students keep their head if an actual event would happen because they would know the routine by practice, not just word.
Lakewood High School received a gun threat on February 23, 2018 that caused the school to close for a day. “Kids make statements here about school shootings all the time,” explained Riley. “I figured it was just a kid that was messing around and posed no real threat.”
Educators have a hard time trying to decipher whether a comment is an actual threat or just teenagers goofing around. Martha Fickle, the drama department teacher, said to the students after the threat: “Please think about what you say before you say it. While it may be just a joke it could have bad consequences.” If the public educators can’t tell the difference between a joke and a threat they might ignore something that could be serious.
“Shootings happen because we are not developing
relationships with each other anymore”
“Shootings happen because we are not developing relationships with each other anymore,” said Krier. “Everyone is more interested in their social media, phones etc.. People who are struggling with life are being ignored.” A study by Disney Mobile and Harris Interactive shows that 47 percent of teens say that their main form of communication is through text messaging. Professor Albert Mehrabian said that “93 percent of communication is lost through text messaging,” making it harder for teens problems to be heard.
Though drills and mental health programs are important, some students believe that even a small act can make a difference. “Actually listening to what someone has to say is the best way to stop shootings,” stated Jacob Stevenson, a junior at Lakewood High School.