Imagine waking up in the morning and finding yourself stressing about whether there will be a shooting at your school that day, rather than whether you will get a good grade on your English paper. Now imagine the worst possible scenario: being inside school and hearing the sounds of blood curdling screams and gunshots.
No student should ever have to fear getting shot while going to school to get an education. They should not have to worry about how effective the security is at their school, a place where they typically spend 7 hours a day, five days of the week.
Recently students have stood in solidarity with the students targeted in the shooting in Parkland, Florida. On February 14th,17 students were shot and killed by former student Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Many schools in the Kalamazoo area and across the country have been participating in peaceful walkouts where students are speaking up on gun control. After locally organized walkouts, both Otsego and Plainwell were threatened by gun violence. These are schools that are only 20-30 minutes away from Norrix.
Loy Norrix junior Ellie Nagel-Bennett spoke on gun violence, “The threats hit close to home because the schools which were threatened were so close to us geographically and socially. Lakeview High School [in Battle Creek] was also threatened and I was there [at a swim meet] when it happened. It was scary because that could easily be Norrix.”
After the Parkland Florida shooting, I felt afraid to walk through the doors of my own school in the morning. I would sit in my car just looking at the school thinking about how easy it would be for a shooter to access my school. Although we do have campus safety and some police officers, we don’t have metal detectors. Even after a student brought a gun to school three years ago and accidently shot it off in one of the bathrooms. A student could do that again and the situation could be much worse.
“I also do not feel safe coming to school because I know how easy it is for someone to sneak in and out. Almost every single day I see someone walk up to one of the locked doors and another student lets them in,” said Nagel-Bennett.
Campus safety officer Jacqueline Hampton sits in the tower, Loy Norrix’s main entrance, daily. She has a pretty good idea of the students and staff who attend here and she monitors the door for suspicious behavior. She decides when to open the door and when not to. She is able to observe all areas of campus on the monitors that record the footage from security cameras, but it’s impossible to watch every door constantly with students signing in and out and other distractions.
“The whole situation is scary, but I just try to do the best I can do and I hope that I have a positive impact on the safety of this school,” said Hampton.
Tragedy after tragedy, from six-year-olds at Sandy Hook to high school students at Columbine, becoming part of the daily news, yet no meaningful measures have been taken towards gun control. When will enough be enough? How many more lives will it take until we put a stop to this madness.
Gun control needs to be put into effect. All automatic weapons need to be banned. There needs to be many more restrictions on buying a weapon, especially a weapon of war.
People say gun control isn’t the best option and it won’t change anything, but in countries like Australia, where in 1996 they put a gun ban into effect, homicides have declined and the rate is the lowest on record in the past 25 years. Therefore where restrictions have been enforced, gun violence has been decreased dramatically.
Prove it. Prove to us that gun control won’t work. How will we know if we never try?