What You Do When There Is a Shooting At Your School
It starts as a normal Tuesday. You go through the day pretty mindlessly. First period, second period, third, fourth. Lunchtime. You sit with your friends, then it’s back to class. Fifth, sixth, seventh. You do schoolwork and think about upcoming deadlines. Then the final bell rings and you hurry to your car so you can leave before the students flood out and the traffic gets bad.
As you drive down South Rice you see two police cars speed past you. “Oh, that’s weird,” you think to yourself. “They’re probably going to Bellaire. I wonder what happened.” But you don’t freak out. You keep driving.
Then your phone dings with a text message. And another, and another, and another, and another. And you’re driving, so you don’t check your phone. It’s probably a group chat asking about homework or something.
And then you’re home, and you’re reading your texts, and no one is asking about homework. There was a shooting. At your school.
Your friends send photos of the police car and you can feel your heart start to race a bit faster. You check on your friends and make sure they are all okay. You call your mom and your dad. “There was a shooting at my school. I don’t know what’s going on.” You don’t know what’s going on. You sit and stare at the messages flooding your phone from people still at school.
They tell you about the ambulance, and the stretcher, and the news vans, and the helicopter. Then they tell you that the shooter ran away. You don’t know what to do. Your mom gets home. The news comes on. KHOU 11, ABC 13, your school. A student was shot at Bellaire High School. He is being rushed to the hospital. The suspect is on the loose. Back to the weather.
Breaking news, the student has died. Your stomach drops. You still don’t know what to do. You stare at the TV. Your family hears about what happened. They call and text. Your 7-year-old cousin sends you a voice message. “Hi Liv, I just wanted to ask you if you are okay. I saw about what happened on the news. I love you. This is Joseph by the way. Okay, bye.” You go to sleep.
You wake up on Wednesday and there is no school. Bellaire High School is trending on Twitter. The word “trending” just seems so morbid. You go to the vigil that was held for the victim at Evelyn’s Park. Afterwards, your parents ask how it was. What do you say? It was hard? It was sad? I didn’t know what to say. One of your friends did not attend the vigil because she feared she would have an anxiety attack. You tell her you understand. You mean it. Back to sleep.
You wake up on Thursday. You have school. You are still feeling… numb? You are not sure. You ignore it. You leave your house a little early. “Bye Mom, I love you.” “Bye Liv. I love you, please be careful.” You get to school and have to wait in line to get your backpack checked. As you wait you see police everywhere. That should make you feel safer. Does it? You are not sure.
You get to class and sit through biology. All deadlines postponed. Oh yeah, you forgot about the work you have due. Do you care? You are not sure. Second period, you sit in the library. You have an office period. You ask the librarian to help you with an essay. It is hard to focus on what he is saying. Grief counseling is happening 15 feet away from you. You can hear a girl crying. You turn away. You sit at a table in the library and open a new document. You can’t focus on work. What do you do?
I don’t know. I chose to write this. Where do I go from here? Where does my school go? How long will it take for us to heal?
The minute bell just rang. I should get to class.
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