No more violence

Angelique Gingras, Contributor

There is an ongoing issue in our country today: gun violence at schools around the country. As of May 18, there have been over 20 instances where shots were fired at a school or college campus and someone was hurt or killed since Jan. 1. That averages over one incident a week as of the beginning of this year. 

The purpose of my writing is not to express what we should have done to prevent this, but rather what we are going to do to make sure parents send their children off to school knowing that they will see them when they get home. Something needs to be done and arming staff members is not the answer. 

As a high school student, I notice a change in the school community. I understand what it’s like to be scared to come to school because I’ve seen it happen a lot this year. I believe that coming to school and seeing staff members armed is not going to make anyone feel safer. I know it doesn’t make me feel any better. Instead, we should help the younger generation with understanding the importance of preventing gun violence and teaching students how to recognize if something seems unsafe. 

We live in a society where students think that speaking up is a bad thing, causing them to be a “snitch,” and it’s unacceptable. Students should feel obligated to say something if they see something they believe is unsafe, because after all, they see it on social media and can easily recognize it. We need to stop believing that students will always be the victims because they can be part of the solution. Students’ perspectives are so important because they are the future — the future that has the ability to change this recurring pattern for the better. 

The number of fatalities so far this year is distressing. We’ve seen it happen in Maryland. If you think gun violence can’t happen in your school, you’re wrong, because it can happen anywhere, but we can change it if we help shape the youth into positive members of society. This violence within the school community is happening because of the growing aggression and miscommunication between people around the world. This is what’s influencing our youth. We need to make an effort as a school community to provide students with safe alternatives on how to deal with grief from school violence, and model to our youth how to resist in a nonviolent way. 

Furthermore, if we focus on teaching students what to do if a shooting really were to happen instead of preventing it in the first place, students will become more reluctant to come to school because they feel a lack of protection. 

School safety has become the No. 1 concern of staff members at schools around the country, but it shouldn’t have to be. We are so lucky to have a wonderful school system in Calvert County with teachers and administrators who care about the students, but students shouldn’t have to worry about going to school and having an “active shooter” drill. My main priority in school is to learn, not to worry about how I’m going to protect myself that day, and I know many of my peers agree with me. 

As a nation, we haven’t had time to forget or move past the tragedies that have happened this year, because they continue to happen. I strongly support that having at least one trained resource officer at each school is a good idea, but the more adults at school who are armed, the more we are modeling violence as a solution. Fighting violence with violence is never the answer. I’m not saying that this won’t happen again, but I’m saying that if we come together and do something about it, the fatalities and tragedies due to gun violence will change for the better. 

The writer is part of the Young Journalists Program in partnership with The Calvert Recorder and Calvert County Public Schools. The article was originally published in the Calvert Recorder on June 1, 2018