Student Militants is Not the Answer

My High School was considered one of those hippie schools. The kind, free-thinking, open campus, call your teachers by their first names type of place. It was pretty much the most chill high school I could have gone to. When it came to security, Barrie was very relaxed, there were no cameras, the buildings were all far apart and made of glass, and it was on high access road heading toward Washington DC.

Barrie was relaxed until I was 16 and sitting in History class when everything changed. My teacher was talking about the Trojan war when suddenly every phone in our classroom went off. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and my heart stopped: “Active shooter on Layhill Rd already killed people at the mall and supermarket.” Layhill road is the road Barrie was on. Every school in our area was on lockdown but no other schools were as close to the shootings as we were. My whole class was instructed to crawl under our desks and lean against the glass wall.  It was safe to say that we did not feel any safer.

Time passed slowly until we suddenly heard a siren. Watching through our transparent classroom, we sat as a beat-up truck pulled into our parking lot. We watched the man pull a nine-millimeter handgun from his seat and hold it out the window shooting at the cop pursuing him. Bullets flew around and we saw them hit our picnic table, parking lot, and the flower bed a mere three feet from our classroom. The officer eventually caught the man who was arrested and sent to prison. However, things at Barrie would never be the same.

My once safe and comfortable school now had cameras every six feet, and a detailed school shooter plan taught to all students, including those under two years old. Now instead of watching kids play outside, I watched as they ran through the woods practicing running away from a “bad guy.”

The saddest part is, the measures that Barrie has taken are tame compared to some solutions other schools have come up with in our post-Columbine Parkland, Newtown, Santa Fe, etc. At Kanawha School in New Mexico, teachers are taking things a step further and teaching their high schoolers to swarm shooters. Alongside everyday math and English classes, students at Kanawha are taught how to disarm grown men, attack a man with a gun, and to use their own bodies to protect the lives of younger students.

At an Indiana school, local sheriffs are conducting shooting drills with the teachers and staff.  “During active shooter drill, four teachers at a time were taken into a room, told to crouch down and were shot execution style with some sort of projectiles — resulting in injuries to the extent that welts appeared, and blood was drawn,” a statement from the Indiana State Teachers Association on Wednesday, March, 20 said. (via NBC news)

This goes beyond gun safety, politics, or other ridiculous decisions to arm teachers. Being a child is a precious time. Elementary school through middle school is the most influential time in a person’s life. It should be full of learning new things, making friends, and discovering who you are. At least this is how it was. Today, school has turned into hiding behind your desk, being instructed to look out for “potential shooters” among your classmates, and wondering if you will ever even make it back home.

As arguments permeate Congress on what to do about this problem at excruciatingly slow speed, students across the country are still dying. It’s not up to us to protect ourselves from guns, it’s our job to receive a good education. This is America and we, as a country, need to step up and admit that turning our students into militants is not normal, and having 10,000 gun deaths in children under 18 every year is not normal.