Student Perspective – Oxford High School Shooting

Student Perspective - Oxford High School Shooting

Indu Bodala

It has almost been two months since the horrific school shooting in Oxford High School took place. Four innocent lives were taken along with seven individuals injured, all of which had their whole lives ahead of them. The Nation was shocked at this event, but soon that shock dissipated and this horrific event became another distant memory. The public forgot, but the emotional and psychological scars on the survivors and the victims families will never pass, because at the end of the day four children, daughters, sons, and members of our future never returned home. The truth of the matter is that violence and death have been progressively normalized in what are supposed to be institutions of knowledge and growth. And that is a sad testament to the society and Nation we live in. According to the Sandy Hook Promise organization, the U.S. has had 1,316 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing, this proves that gun violence at schools is an epidemic that is disproportionately affecting our youth.

Every whisper, rumor, and social media post carries the weight of a thousand pounds. Students walk into school wondering if they will walk out again, students come to school pondering one question in their heads “What if?”. “ What if it is my school today?” and “What if I die?” These are not the questions and thoughts our students should be having. They are not supposed to be coming to school thinking their graves await them. How are we supposed to build a Nation of innovators and thinkers, when we are all afraid of the very institutions that are meant to empower us? And if you think I am over-dramatizing this issue, then I ask you to refer back to the National threat to schools that occurred on December 19th. There was a very noticeable decrease in attendance of students and teachers on a county and national scale, and that is because of fear. As a student who did come to school that day I noticed a significant contrast in the environment, the usual buzzing and clamoring of the hallways and classrooms was replaced with a feeling of angst and nervousness, subtle but present. Usually even after classes and flex times begin the hallways are always filled with noise and chattering…but on that day they resembled ghost towns. Officers flooded campuses, administrators were busy on their feet, teachers were stretched thin, and students were scared. Now let me ask you, does this seem normal? Is it normal for teachers to hold heavy discussions about life and death with children? Is it normal for students to skip school in fear of their lives? Is it normal to have campuses filled with Officers? Well only a fool would answer yes, but the sad reality is that this is the new normal and if we as a society don’t start implementing change then this will be the not so new normal for our future generations as well. And if change on a National level does not start immediately we can always bring change within our county. To start off we must advocate for updated safety protocols and training. Our lockdown drills and training are inferior to what other school districts are implementing and we MUST change that! We must encourage more discussions among students about school safety and stress that making illicit threats of violence is not a joke and there are serious consequences that follow.

As you can see there are many things that we as a school district can implement to improve school safety. This is a priority! My final remarks is to remind everyone that violence in schools should cease to be normalized! Dead teachers and students should NEVER be as common as the flu, we need to overcome this epidemic.