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The Journal Gazette

  • Lovell

Thursday, March 08, 2018 1:00 am

Latest teen obsession

School shootings have overtaken students' more mundane preoccupations

Nick Lovell

Nick Lovell is a sophomore at Homestead High School.

“What was that loud boom?”

“I wonder where the school resource officer is in the building.”

“Who could get in the building right now?”

“I wonder what teachers think about gun control.

“Probably not gonna ask, though, because I don't know how to approach anyone and ask for their opinion.”

Ever since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Florida, my mind hasn't been thinking about one topic that deals with it but rather the whole scene. I don't know what I'm supposed to think. I don't know what my peers or school would like me to think. But recently, I was sitting in biology class waiting for the bell, just staring off into space and realizing how real it all was. Someone – anyone – could come in my classroom or break a window and shoot me. Shoot my friends. Shoot my teacher. It could be a classmate who has a mood change and freaks out and does something horrible to themselves, to me or anyone else.

What do I think of that? What do we think of that?

I'm constantly online researching similar instances in schools, watching CNN updates and listening to as many people's stories as I possibly can. My school was scheduled recently to do an active-shooter drill, which is more than a lockdown. The school gives us a scenario and we react. Noises are made and desks or whatever we have around us are moved to the door so that anyone trying to get into a classroom faces an immediate obstacle and is therefore barricaded.

It's awesome that schools like mine have integrated this, and I'm happy to see mine is proactive. It makes me feel safe, but – in reality – I can be in the safest school and still be in immediate danger. I can be in the safest building and still be with the most mentally unstable people – very violent students.

Sitting in a class a couple days ago, everyone was quiet and doing their work. All of a sudden I heard someone drop something in the hallway. But my immediate thought was a gunshot. I felt my heart drop – that feeling you get when you're embarrassed in front of a lot of people or when you know you're about to be in a lot of trouble. My friend looked at me and said she heard it and turned back around and finished her work. I couldn't focus for the rest of the class because my mind was just running in circles.

I'm not going to be told “what happened in Florida doesn't concern you. You weren't involved so you don't have a reason to worry.”

Every day I go from a private place and the comfort of my own home to becoming immediately vulnerable. This concerns me greatly. It worries me that I go to a place where this is so common. I want to take action. I want to be someone who can stand up and talk about this. I feel that this isn't being talked about enough. I know probably no one wants to but I do think it is important not only to have administrators and teachers taking action and opening up the subject. I think it's just as important for students to be talking about the issue.

But my main concern/struggle/focus is where do I start? Where do I even begin and what do I say? Who deals with this type of instance?