With the recent events in Florida, the talk about gun violence and gun control has become very popular on social media and at my school. It is one of the bigger problems our society is facing right now.
None of this stuff seemed very real to me. Don’t get me wrong; I cared very much about change, but it was hard for me to get myself fired up for the cause. That is, until two weeks ago on Friday.
I was sitting in my fifth-hour class, listening to my teacher give instruction. All of the sudden, the principal went over the loudspeaker and gave an announcement that we were to go to a “shelter in place” lockdown. What this means is that my teacher had to lock the door and nobody could come in or go out of the room until they said it was okay.
Nobody took this that seriously. We all thought it was just a drill in light of the events in Florida. My teacher kept teaching and we all kept doing our work. When it came down to the last five minutes of class, we were sort of confused as to why no one had said the drill was over.
It was around 1:03 p.m., two minutes until class ended, when the principal came back on the speaker and said we were not to go to sixth class and that we had to stay in our fifth class.
Once the announcement was done, I could see the look of worry on my classmates’ faces. We all immediately jumped to worst case scenario. This one girl started to cry. Other people began to frantically text their parents and friends. I myself received texts from my friends asking if I was okay.
My teacher was very good at keeping us all calm in the situation. He told us it was a good sign that we weren’t in a full lockdown. We all kept checking the news until one kid shouted, “Hey our lockdown is breaking news!”
It turned out that there were allegations that someone had brought a gun to school in their car and that they threatened to use it at school.
People in my classroom were freaking out and starting to panic a little bit. My teacher was actually really good in this situation and tried to keep us all calm. About an hour later, the school said that we could go home and that the “soft” lockdown was over.
Everyone was very shaken by this incident. There were (and still are) rumors about what actually happened. From what seems to be the consensus, it was all just a rumor that a person had a gun, but it got around so quick that the school had to investigate.
Situations like these really make me think. What would I have done if things had gone differently? What if someone actually does bring a gun to school? How would I try to stay alive?
Ever since that Friday, I have been more aware of my surroundings at school. The whole thing made everything seem much more real to me. I know nothing happened, but that’s not even an excuse.
Not even one week later my school was put into another soft lockdown. This time I was sitting in my second hour when the principal went on and said to proceed into a soft lockdown.
This one lasted even longer than the one five days before. This time, somebody had written on the bathroom wall that they were going to shoot the school up on Thursday.
Two hours later, we were dismissed from school due to an ongoing investigation. We even got the next day off, which was a Friday, because the police were still investigating.
I will never be able to feel the same way at school anytime soon.
The what-ifs are always swirling in my head. I am part of the committee planning a walkout for this cause at my school and even the administration is constantly reminding us of what if this happens or what if someone tries to do this.
Nobody should even have to think this way at school. School is not a place where you should be worrying about an attack or being killed. Students should only be worrying about tests and homework and who they are going to prom with.
In my home state on that Friday, there were three neighboring school districts with threats and lockdowns of their own. I feel like almost every day there is a school that is forced into lockdown because of threats of violence. With everything going on, it almost seems like a fad that people find funny, or that they like getting attention from.
I hope that there are some schools that never have to experience a lockdown at a time like this. I hope that our voices can be heard so that no student ever has to worry about going to school again.