Do students feel safe at school?

An insight into into the threat of gun violence that students face on a daily basis

by Anya Farwell, staff

When we were younger, perhaps the most daunting thing we had to worry about happening at school was an earthquake. Now the new normal means drills to practice quickly locking doors, closing blinds, silently huddling together to hide, and learning the color cards in each classroom based on injury. Is gun violence the new normal? 

The past couple years have been a whirlwind for high school students, many of whom were doing their freshman year online, others attempting their senior year, along with the added stress for all students of keeping their grades balanced while doing school from home. Due to this, many students were eager to get back on campus at the end of last year, finally able to see their friends and talk to their teachers face-to-face and not online. With students coming back last year, TikToks highlighting high school became popular, ranging on a scale from funny to weird. But lately, some TikTok trends are straying from the original intent of being funny and instead are starting to insinuate gun violence and school shootings, making school feel unsafe and threatening to many students. 

A sophomore student who would like to remain anonymous feels these sporadic “trends” and threatening behaviors showing up on social media can really impact the feeling of safety students have while at school. “I’m scared to think of what could come next,” they said. I’m starting to question what the meaning of “safe place” even is.

I’m starting to question what the meaning of ‘safe place’ even is.

— Anonymous

For some students, not only has TikTok been the pinnacle of distraction, but it’s also produced unnecessary and harmful trends that have escalated from stealing soap dispensers from the school’s bathroom to threatening to shoot up an entire school for the appeal to be “funny” or a “prank” among many other things. 

Shorewood security monitor Miguel Diaz says the school tries to foster an environment in which students can share if they have concerns. 

 “We constantly monitor behavior and try to create an environment where people can feel safe talking about things that might make them feel uncomfortable,” Diaz said. 

  Sophomore Emma Cloud said these threats startled her when she saw them on her phone on TikTok. “I think they are pointless” she said. “I don’t really understand why people want to do it.” Many students agree. 

Although Shorewood has spoken up about gun violence and shootings, and has put in the necessary precautions to prevent such an event, many students still don’t feel like they’re doing the most they can. “It’s good to have people there for you to ask questions, especially if it ever happens,” Cloud said. She added that the school could do better in reaching out to their students and talking with them about these events. 

Diaz, one of the two security guards, said he feels school society is reacting and promoting gun violence along with Shorewood’s reaction to such actions. “As a security guard at Shorewood, I hear too often kids making gun references as a joke or stating facts about weaponry as if it was a common thing,” Diaz said, adding that society has become desensitized to gun violence and it’s not talked about enough.

The question remains as to what to do and how to handle these sorts of vague threats. 

Said a sophomore who wishes to remain anonymous: “I hope that as a community, we can do better, that we can put this behind us and work towards a better, safer, or at least a more normal future where students aren’t scared to go to school.”