There have been enough school shootings in America to understand there is a gun violence issue in this country. We’ve all heard the stories and seen the headlines. School shootings have taken over the media. How many tragedies have to happen before a lesson is learned and changes are made? School is supposed to be a safe and positive learning environment.
Lately there has been a growing eruption of conversation around gun control. I was having a conversation with my teacher after the Parkland shooting and she asked me “What are some things we can do as a community to prevent school shootings before they happen?” That was when I realized the answer is not something that can be defined by our community alone.
Every school has steps to take in order to be the most positive and safe institution as possible for students to learn and grow. Although a good community is the first step in ending school violence, without proper gun control the problem would still persist.
There are many theories about how to reduce gun violence in schools. Many people stand by the solution to allow teachers to be armed in schools so they could shoot back in defense of their class. Although this is a good idea in theory, having access to more guns in a school environment would most likely lead to even more violence and would be counterproductive.
In contrast, there are laws that could be implemented to make purchasing a gun more difficult. Many people are against this solution because not everyone who owns a gun is a threat to society. That said, there is a difference between gun control and gun eradication. Those who hunt and shoot responsibly should still have the right to own a gun. However, it could be extremely beneficial to have a law requiring all those who carry firearms to take part in a gun-safety course.
In a study conducted by urban studies researcher Richard Florida, states with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths. He also found that more stress, more immigrants, higher population, and mental illness, actually hold zero correlation with more gun related deaths.
In schools around the country kids have begun to speak out about the need for gun control. Students have even gone so far as to plan a walkout on March 14, and join the national march in Washington D.C. This is a great way for students to express their views on gun control and stand up for safety in schools. It’s silent, it’s civil, but most importantly it sends a message loud and clear.
However, it isn’t just students threatened in school shootings, but it’s teachers too. It’s fantastic that students are standing up for what they believe in, but to really make a change we need help. From peers and from teachers, but we also need help from administrators, community members, and our representatives.
Students are currently driving this issue and voicing opinions but we need society to hear our points. All we can do is explain what we need but we don’t have the ability to make the changes alone. Too many lives have been taken in school shootings. Students should not have to dread spending a normal day in class. Parents should not have to be scared to drop their kids off at school. Teachers and faculty members should not be afraid to show up to work.
Sarah Shields is a contributing writer for Raise Your Voice. She is a senior at Gorham High School.