School Shooting Crisis: An LSSC Student's Perspective

School Shooting Crisis: An LSSC Student’s Perspective
Opinion by David Housley

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was horrifying. When I heard the news, my first reaction was, “How did this happen?”  In seven minutes, a 19-year-old man managed to fatally shoot 17 people and wound 14 more with an assault rifle. Why was the shooter not stopped sooner? School districts need a drastic increase in funding to ensure students are safe from harm, because no parent should ever receive a text message from their child at school saying, “If I don’t make it I love you and I appreciated everything you did for me.”

As an LSSC student-parent, I fear for my children’s future. The shooting at Douglas High marked the eighteenth school shooting in 2018, while in 2017 there were only seven school shootings by February. The increase is alarming, and students, parents and teachers should not have to fear for their lives. LSSC has taken matters into their own hands by teaming up with ALICE Training Institute to teach both students and school faculty how to respond to an active shooter. I believe this workshop is part of the solution, which is having a better response team. Other schools across the country are learning on-site first aid, such as temporarily stitching a wound and learning how to stop an injury from bleeding. Although these solutions may not lower the number of school shootings, they will undoubtedly save lives.

Many teachers, U.S. citizens and Republican legislative leaders believe arming teachers is a viable solution. While I understand the concept of allowing teachers to carry firearms at schools, I do not believe this is the proper solution. Scot Peterson, the resource officer on duty at the time of the shooting, hid behind a car while the shooter fired rounds into classrooms. Peterson was adequately trained to engage violent people and handle these stressful situations yet fear still kept him from pursuing the shooter. A 30-year veteran froze up after hearing the thunderous roar of an assault rifle. When a situation that intense and stressful arises, people respond in ways they would never expect.

A person can easily learn how to fire a weapon and run simulations, but police officers have adapted to this lifestyle; it’s what they’re paid to do. I respect the educators who are willing to take up arms and defend students, but they should not have to risk their safety or a student’s safety by participating in a fire fight. I understand that in many school shootings teachers were the first responders, however, I feel that having several dedicated, properly trained and mentally prepared law enforcement officers on site would help resolve America’s school shooting crisis. Maybe if Douglas High had more than one resource officer the shooter would have been stopped much sooner.

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