Uncomfortable but necessary
This fall, my high school held a mass-shooting drill. Our teachers had informed us of the drill ahead of time, and letters were sent home so our parents would know what was taking place. Needless to say, freshmen reacted with a mixture of excitement and a little fear because what exactly was going to happen that day was still unclear.
At 9 a.m. that day, the drill began. I was in my second-period class, geometry, when we were told to lock all doors, close the blinds and rush to the back of the classroom. There were 27 of us in the room, all crouched with our heads in our knees. We were silent for around 30 minutes, waiting as the sound of gunshots and screams unfolded outside.
It was in that moment when I felt slightly afraid. Fake or not, the sound of people screaming was unnerving. No one screams during fire drills. I exchanged looks around the room, trying to gauge the feelings of my classmates. They too seemed to be caught off guard, either staring at the door or at the clock to see when the screams would stop.
When the all-clear was finally given, my peers and I groggily stood up, still eying the door to see if any police officers would try to open our door again. For the rest of the period, we were on edge about what had happened, and tried to brush off our uneasiness with a couple of jokes. But as the fire trucks rolled away, the SWAT team vacated and the tents outside disassembled, the discomfort that came from the drill washed away, and the school day continued.
Although the exercise may have been a bit strange, it was needed. In a nation where 205 school shootings have occurred in the last three years (according to everytownresearch.org), schools need to be prepared now more than ever. We have to let parents know how they can help in the fight against gun violence. It’s not enough to simply grieve; we need to make sure that this does not keep happening.
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