A Need For Change

Spector of violence should spur change in FHSD

Waking up Saturday morning I wasn’t expecting my usual routine to differentiate. I woke up at nine, ate breakfast, and got ready for work. Everything played out as usual, until about noon when I sat down for my lunch break and saw an email come across my phone. Not really thinking anything of it, I was ready to send it to the trash, but something stopped me. The words FHSD Community. I decided to take a look and was shocked when I saw why the superintendent was going out of his way to contact everyone on a Saturday. 

The night before a student brought a firearm to the basketball game between FHC and Francis Howell North and no one would have known if another student didn’t report it. Reading this was shocking, but for some reason I wasn’t panicking as much as someone who heard an underage student was able to get a firearm into their school should be. 

Sure, reading it was horrifying because I knew friends of mine were there and I pictured what could have happened if this situation panned out differently, but I returned to school on Monday with no questions asked. Why is this? This should be a situation that alarms everyone, but walking through the halls all I hear is kids making jokes and saying the district’s three administrators from Central Office and an additional police officer at school is a bit of an overreaction since nothing really happened. Personally, I don’t  agree with them, but I can’t really say I felt too different after this situation. I showed up to school two days later as if nothing happened. 

Sadly my reaction isn’t uncommon. As a society when we read about school shootings or other forms of gun violence we tend to talk about it for a couple weeks, say a change needs to be made, and then never actually change anything. Why is this? This year alone there have been six school shootings and more than four dozen acts of gun violence across America. Among the most talked about is the Jan. 6 Richneck Elementary School shooting in Virginia which resulted in life threatening injury to a first grade teacher at the hands of her six year old student. While the school has notably upped security and hired a new administrator it won’t stop events like this from happening. No one wants to see something like this happen at their school, so why do we sit there and think it won’t happen again when time after time we are proven wrong? 

It can’t be because these events don’t hit close enough to home because on Oct. 24, 2022, a mass shooting occurred at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in Saint Louis. A student and teacher were sadly killed as a result, but we didn’t do anything about it. We followed the usual procedure: the school was shut down for a little while and eventually reopened with more security. While this was a crucial step in creating a safer environment for students, it isn’t enough. If we want to prevent tragic events like this from happening again we need to enact legislation to provide funding and support for schools to better combat these issues. 

It’s hard for people to continually fight for something their local politicians will do nothing about, so they bend down in defeat and continue to watch it happen. What else are you supposed to do? Because of this we as a society have become accustomed to violence like this. I wish I could say I haven’t, but that would be a lie. I too have become accustomed to this being reality when it shouldn’t be. 

It’s just hard to gain traction for these movements when your local news only writes a couple of short articles about what conspired at your school Friday and moves on to the next story like this one didn’t really matter. When will it matter? Will it matter when we inevitably lose more people? Or will we brush the next one off as well? 

Being able to sit back and think about a situation that could have played out in your own school and not really giving it any second thoughts shows there is something wrong with society. Never in a million years did I think we as a society would become so accustomed to something that we call scares like these “not a big deal.” Never did I think people would see the district’s response to an underage student bringing a firearm into a basketball game and almost getting away with it as an overreaction, but I guess I thought better of us. 

No matter the intentions of the student, this should make every Spartan question how it was able to happen in the first place. Never in a million years did I think something like this could happen here. I mean, I don’t really know why I never thought it could happen here considering they seem to be happening all over the country. I guess you never really comprehend the impacts of these events until your own community is almost impacted. 

After this incident, I have decided I am no longer going to sit back and watch something like this go untalked about. As a reporter, it is my place to cover this story to the best of my ability in order to provide my community with all of the facts to hopefully make a difference, but this isn’t something I can do alone. This is something we as a community need to step up and change. Rather than moving on, we need to continue to talk about these things. When we stop talking about similar events fall through the cracks without any of us talking about them. If we want change, we need to start with us. As a district we need to consider addressing how we stop things like this in the future. If this means invoking new policy then we need to whole-heartedly support and move forward with them. We can’t expect the rest of the world to change if we can’t even do so ourselves, so rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to address it, we need to do something about it ourselves. Obviously, we can’t change the world on our own, but we can take the first steps in making our schools a safer space.