I went into sophomore year excited, a little bit nervous, but mostly glad I wasn’t a freshman anymore. People told me that sophomore year is when it all changes. People get their licenses, friend groups change, homework gets harder. So I knew it was going to be a year of change, but I never expected anything like this. Throughout the school year, Redwood has received 4 shooting threats and 1 bomb threat. This is more than any we have ever had in the past, especially in one semester.
I still remember the day of the first shooting threat. It was September 28th, just after school was let out. An image was circling around the whole student body. It was a picture of sharpie written on the bathroom wall saying that someone was “going to shoot up the school tomorrow.” So many questions went through my mind. Should I go to school tomorrow? Who wrote this? Is this even real? Am I safe? All things I’ve never thought I’d be questioning. The next day I came to school and everything felt different. Half of the school was at home; the halls were completely empty. I remember going to my 3rd period class and immediately my teacher locked the door and sat down to talk to us. She said that if anything ever happened, her keys to the classroom were in her purse in the bottom left drawer in her desk. She said that if she wasn’t there for some reason, she wanted us to lock the classroom.
This moment has stuck with me since September, and will probably for a very long time. I instantly got a uneasy feeling in my stomach, something I’ve never felt before. It’s a feeling that students across the country have to feel now. In 2018 there were 22 shootings within a span of only 20 weeks into the year. That averages out to more than 1 shooting per week. 41 students have died and 70 injured just this year. Just in 20 weeks.
Recently deaths like these just turn into statistics, numbers, and that’s all. And that’s all the government sees. They don’t see the families torn apart, the students with PTSD, and the communities that will never be the same. Maybe they do see this, they probably actually do, but still I see no change. Nothing is happening to fix and prevent these tragedies. This is what turns my sadness into anger, what fuels my fire along with the 1.2 million people who marched on March 22nd.
Lauren Halsey, Elder