As kids, society taught us that schools were a safe environment in which we’re allowed to freely pursue our education. However, as we grew and entered greater levels of education, we’ve been met with countless attacks on numerous schools that contradict our ideals and make us question what we’ve been taught.
Even so, many of us still had hope that things would be better, that our government, states, and schools worked hard to keep us safe in the places it mattered. Yet our hope was shattered, again facing the bitter truth that society tries to shield us from. On November 30th, shooter Ethan Crumbley committed an act of terroism against Oxford High School, injuring 7 people, killing 4, and traumatizing thousands. This left many Michigan students horrified, wondering “ Are we next? Is it safe to go to school?”
“I was in awe. Things like this have happened before but it hits harder when I know the incident happened closer to home,” says Darion Nundley. We see incidents happen to other schools, and we grieve. We hope that our ‘thoughts and prayers’ will be enough and we pray that something like this will never happen to us. And we think it never will, until it does. With this recent shooting, many of us are beginning to realize that ‘thoughts and prayers’ will never be enough in tragedies, and what needs to occur is real change.
The Oxford Shooting has reopened a discussion about gun violence and how it’s affecting schools and students. This time, many students are beginning to speak out and confront what we’re being told. Students of Woodhaven are demanding change and they’re demanding to be listened to. As a result of the Oxford shooting, many copycat threats have been popping up all over Michigan schools, and the majority of us are beginning to be deeply affected by these threats. WHS student Trinity Dilorenzo speaks the thoughts of many students across Michigan: “It makes me afraid to come to school–”
These pop up threats have also led to the discussion of whether WHS has taken the precautions and safety measures to help keep students safe. On one hand, many of the students have made it clear that the school needs to do more, like this student who has asked to remain anonymous, “I think we definitely could improve on our security. I’d like to see safety measures implemented like clear backups or metal detectors. It may seem kind of extreme, but at this point there are so many school shootings that we need to take extreme measures.”
But this is a complex issue and there are varying perspectives. Many students also have also expressed that they’re satisfied with what the school already has in place. “I think our security is fine to be honest,” says Gary Cambell, “But I do think they need to take any reports or threats very seriously.”
Schools, however, are not the only ones to be held accountable. There are only a few things schools can actively achieve in order to keep our schools safe. Many people believe that in order to get a step closer to resolving gun violence in schools, we need to look at the issue through a societal level. When asked how this topic could be handled on a societal level, this anonymous student said “I believe we need a lot more gun reform, I don’t think anyone should be able to buy pistols–or anything that is made to kill people.” Another student, Klaire Schott, adds “Mental health factors have played a huge role into many of these school shootings, so I think it’s important to take the mindset of students into consideration and make mental health resources more accessible to students.”
More than ever, kids need a place to feel safe, so if you’re in need of anyone to talk to, we encourage you to talk to your counselors or the school’s social worker. We want to end this by saying that the tragedy that took place in Oxford, while painful, will not be the last incident we see of gun violence. This is the exact reason why students must actively confront and question what we see when it’s related to gun violence. Whether it be threats, safety concerns, or more, it’s important you make yourself heard. If you do have any concerns like this, there are multiple ways to get help. Okay2say is a prominent website if you need to report any suspicious threats you see, or you can contact [email protected] if you would like to directly voice your safety concerns to the school. This future generation has the power of change and can make schools a brighter place.