Locked Down: East High Editors Respond to Recent Gun Violence
The yelled instructions of teachers, the clumsy rush of students running in the hallways, and the looks of panic are familiar images that many students can recall. The rush of adrenaline and fear seeps through them. Students begin to contact parents, clutch their friends in worry, and wait uneasily in a classroom cramped with equally fearful students.
School shootings have a significant impact on the student’s mental health and education. It leads to unwarranted anxiety and trauma that has an everlasting impact on students, teachers, and staff. It is important to address mental health concerns and find methods in which individuals can control their anxiety during and after a shooting. It is deplorable that students have to think about these situations, but it is something that has to be addressed as a country who experiences frequent school shootings.
The school shooting had a major effect on the student body. Each time the intercoms come on to put out an announcement, students dread another lockdown situation. Students are now hyper-aware of their surroundings and the people around them. It is atrocious that students fear to sit on the front lawn or go outside because of the endless gun violence happening around East High School.
Tuesday’s events could have been given more attention by administration in the days following the incident. While attempts to avoid panic are valid, the weight of the situation was not reflected in the actions of East’s leadership. There was no thorough acknowledgement of how students were feeling after the shooting besides a quick announcement during ACE Time the next day. This lack of attention left the student body to contend with the event without the presence of the school's leadership. Many teachers asked how their students were feeling the next day, but classes continued as though the previous day had not occurred.
Pushing forward after an event of this nature contributes to the ongoing normalization of gun violence in our communities. The expectation that business must continue as usual after a shooting where students were harmed reinforces the myth that gun violence is a normal part of East High.
A more effective method of connecting to the student body would have been through a collective, strongly-encouraged assembly or community event. Optional counseling was offered, but this does not reflect the weight of last week’s shooting. It is known that EHS administration cares about their students, but their support would have been felt more powerfully with an event that took questions, asked how students felt during and after lockdown, and stressed the importance of combating gun violence. Again, students at East know they are supported by staff and the Wichita community--but it would have only benefited students and parents to take stronger measures after the event occurred.
Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your own opinions and suggestions as we find ways to cope with and battle against gun violence in and around our schools.
The Messenger Editors,
Busra Yildirim and Salsabila Attaria