Going to school is dangerous now: 159,490 minutes remaining


Gabriella Van Horne, Journalism 1 Writer

I first realized there was a problem when I was in fifth grade. I was finally old enough to see the world for how it is. My parents didn’t have to sugarcoat anything because I had the capacity to understand the good and the bad and I was able to recognize that there were problems that needed to be fixed. The USA had a problem with gun violence, and if you had any life outside of your home you would inevitably hear about it, similarly to now. 

There were 340 shootings in 2018 and it was one of the most prominent years for school shootings. The Parkland school shooting happened that year, and I started to get anxious as time went on due to the number of school shootings increasing. It got to a point where I had to talk to my teacher about it because I was so worried. The fear 11 year old me had was all consuming.

Now, in 2023, shootings happen every single day, and schools are an especially popular place for them to occur in. Parents have to worry about sending their five year olds to school without the restraint to stay quiet in emergency situations. They have to worry about sending their children to school without $400 bulletproof backpacks, the best of the best. 

Going back to the first day of school, everybody had a tan, people were excited to come back, and fall sports were starting up again. The dreaded syllabus day came and I expected to spend the entirety of my classes listening to rules and expectations, except this year was different. This year my teachers brought our attention to where we need to run and hide. Some teachers even brought to attention what we would do in the event that there was a shooter in the room with us. 

In some situations our classes were extremely close to an exit, maybe even less than five strides, so we were told to get out as long as it was safe. In other situations there was no exit nearby, so our best option was to hide in the designated area and maybe even have some sort of heavy weight in our hands- just in case. 

Kids didn’t really take it seriously, they laughed and joked around while the teachers were talking about important situations, like a shooting would be. If you did have a lockdown drill there would be giggling in the background and objects getting knocked over somewhere behind you. Except as the school year goes on school shootings, as well as shootings everywhere else, are becoming more and more common, to a point where there have been more shootings than days in 2023: 146 shootings in 105 days.

As someone who goes out regularly, enjoys being outside, and attends public school, as a human being who just wants her basic human right to live, this is agonizing. I, along with all the parents and students out there, have to worry about what would happen if by some chance I ended up in the path of a gunman. It’s a stressful and frustrating topic that nobody should have to worry about, because it makes life a trillion times harder. 

While it has been acknowledged that this is a serious issue, adults still aren’t taking it seriously enough to make a change. People of all ages are suffering, they have to endure heartbreak and devastation because the adults we are supposed to trust with our biggest decisions are too focused on banning books, instead of banning the real killer: guns. Because they are continuing to disregard the problem at hand I have to go on, day after day, wondering if my school will be the next one picked.