The real reality of Back to School
Going back to school in the Fall is typically an exciting time for many students. Even more so now due to so many students being away from the classroom for the past year because of Covid. Students are seeing friends they haven’t seen in a long time. Some are experiencing major transitions, such as going from elementary school to middle school and starting high school. Some are experiencing their last days as a senior and getting ready to embark on adulthood and college. Behind all the excitement and joy lies a real and scary threat that seems more possible than ever: a school shooting.
Many of us at Protecting Our Students (POS) did not grow up with the potential threat of experiencing gun violence on our school grounds. Today, our children live with the fear of a threat turning into a reality. We now have trained our students to anticipate an active shooter situation to take place at school. It has become a not “if” but “when” situation. The school was once considered a safe haven, but they are now places where violence frequently occurs. The Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security shows that since 1970, the U.S. has experienced over 1,369 school shootings. 1,369 incidents of gun violence on school grounds are a mind-boggling amount. We also know that incident 1,370 is bound to happen any day, in any city and any school.
POS conducted a recent survey of one hundred high school and middle schoolers around the nation. Here’s what they had to say:
- 49% have on more than one occasion experienced a form of anxiety when thinking about the threat of violence on campus.
- 61% do not feel safe on campus.
- 39% feel the fear of a shooting incident interferes with their academics.
- 57% feel much more can be done to ensure a safe campus.
We are a month into the new school year, and gun violence has already reared its ugly face on campuses across the nation. There have been numerous incidents of students being caught with a gun on campus. Thankfully, most of these incidents have not escalated to something serious due to the quick thinking of fellow students and school staff. Unfortunately, in the past week, two different high schools in North Carolina were not so lucky as others. One student was shot during a fight at New Hanover High School. Luckily, the student survived and the other who pulled the trigger was arrested for attempted murder. Tragically, a few days later, a student was shot and killed at Mount Tabor High School.
If what we have witnessed just the past month is any indicator, it shows us that school violence is not going to get any better. If anything, it is getting worse. There is a crucial need to protect students and staff at school RIGHT NOW. Politics and opinion aside, we believe it is fair to say not enough is being done to protect our students. We live in a nation that is one of the world’s most developed, yet day after day, incident after incident we are failing to fix a problem that is not only urgent but threatening to the lives of innocent people. Fear is overcoming excitement for students today. No parent or child should ever have to worry about violence at school. This is the exact reason why Protecting Our Students was founded and why we created our POSSafetyNetSM assessment app. Our POSSafetyNetSM measures campuses for strengths and deficiencies, while recognizing vulnerabilities missed and proceeds to close those security gaps. While our mission is to end all K-12 school shootings, it cannot be achieved alone. We ask parents, schools, and the community to join us on our mission. Contact us today for ways to help protect our students and ensure our schools become and remain violence-free.