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MHS Reacts: Parkland Shooting


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BY GRACIE LYONS, ASHLEY GRIMMER AND LOGAN CAMPBELL

On February 14th, the nation was shook by yet another school shooting, leaving seventeen dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  

Administrators Perspective:

In response to the tragedy, administrators plan on re-evaluating safety procedures accordingly. “Every time something like this happens we review our protocols. We look at what happened and re-evaluate how we are doing things here,” says MHS principal Dr. Renner. “There is only so many things we can share about our protocol because often times it is the student who is involved.”

Dr. Renner also plans on inviting some students to talk and meet with him to express their worries and suggestions.

Derek Bischoff, MHS’ resource officer and the forefront of defense at the high school, is frustrated

with the tragic event.

“It makes me angry that this keeps happening. The way everything keeps going these days is just terrible, and I wish it would stop; I wish there was more that I could do about that. I have to worry about

myself and where I’m at and my school and help you guys with the kinds of things you need. Hopefully it never happens here,” says Bischoff.

In order to keep MHS safe, Bischoff plans on rising to the occasion.  

Bischoff is suited up in the cafeteria every day during both lunches (PHOTO BY CAMPBELL).

“This [Parkland] makes me want to step up my game. This makes me more cautious, makes me double-check things, even triple-check things. Every time a situation like this happens it ignites the training I’ve had. In every job we all get complacent, start getting comfortable, and lackadaisical. I see the reactions from the police officers down there, and I really hope that is not me and I need to make sure it is not me. I need to do everything I can to prevent that from happening.” 

On March 14th at 10 a.m., students across the country are planning a walkout to honor those who passed away in the shooting and to protest action concerning gun laws.

In terms of a possible walkout on March 14th at MHS, administrators have little to no worries regarding it.

“An important part of school and growing up is to effectively demonstrate your opinions. It is important to have your voices heard,” said Mr. Block.

“We have great students here, and our leadership is solid. I know what they will do is reasonable, and they won’t put anyone at risk,” said Renner.

Student Perspective:

“My heart dropped when I heard about the shooting,” said senior Cassidy Bollman, “I saw videos from the day of the shooting, and it is horrifying imagining anyone to be in the kind of situation.”

Looking into the future, Bollman hopes to see students confidently going to school without fear.

“I’d like to see people living their lives everywhere without fear,” shared Bollman. “I don’t want to be forgotten; 17 people my age died last month for absolutely no reason, and kids I know are terrified that they will go to school and never go home again,” she said.  “When have kids, I want them to feel like the country they live in is safe. It needs to stop.”

“My initial reaction was ‘wow that’s scary. Imaging if that was our school,’” shared senior Danielle Bryan. “There’s a certain point where you have to have empathy and put yourself in others’ shoes, but it gets to the point where there is always going to be access to guns,” said Bryan.

In the wake of the failed protocol, Bryan shared “I think what happened at Parkland is a lack of people doing their jobs. Even in the Vegas shooting, the guy had mental issues and still got a gun.”

As for how this particular school shooting will impact her, Bryan explained, “It effects the nation as a whole because it is similar to 9/11 by means that it is a national travesty. Everyone will mourn and want to make change, but in the end the Second Amendment will probably always stand.”

AFS exchange student, Edoardo Mondellini, who is currently attending Walnut Hills High School, has never heard of a school shooting occuring in Italy. “I am shocked,” said Mondellini, “Because the FBI searched him, and he said he wanted to shoot people before he did.”

Each student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has their own story, one of which includes victim Samantha Fuentes, who is choosing not to return back to that high school. As the debate over gun control continues to run high, students, staff members, and first responders are left searching for ways to prevent someone thing like this from happening in their own schools. 

Teacher Perspective:

Back in the 80s when social studies teacher Mr. Vanags attended high school, school shootings were not a concern.  Fire, tornado, and earthquake drills occurred regularly, but at the time school shootings were unthinkable.

Years later, these nightmares have become reality on many accounts. With 18 school shootings solely in 2018, teachers are now faced with a much different reality than that of former teachers.

“It is unnerving as an educator to know that schools are not entirely safe today, says social studies teacher Mrs. Leatherwood. “I am thankful that we have a resource officer, but wonder if we couldn’t do more to ensure student and staff safety.”

With this not being a stand-alone incident, many are left wondering why action has not been taken.

“We tend to rally around the tragedy and for two weeks and talk about how this needs to be addressed but then new issues arise and we put it on the back burner, says Vanags.  “The reality is that we need to talk about the problem and the issues as a nation and take a stand.”

I think the reality is that as teachers we have become numb to the reality of it and have learned to steel ourselves for the sake of our students,” said Vanags.  “I have been teaching since the mid-90s and can clearly remember when Columbine happened.  Unfortunately, we have done very little in the twenty years since to make schools much safer.”

“Students should go to school feeling safe,” says Vanags. “There are a variety of reasons as to why students might not feel safe:  bullying, anxiety. All of those need to be addressed but fear of being shot should not be one of those fears.”

Though there are many fears and concerns, some teachers offer advice to students on how they can make a positive impact on the climate of their school.

“Think about the fact that someone may go through an entire day without someone saying their name or paying any attention to them,” said Leatherwood.  

“Be the person that gives a ‘hello,’ a wave, or a genuine smile to someone you might not normally pay any attention to. Demonstrate empathy and kindness,” said Leatherwood.  “Everyone is dealing with some type of struggle, or anxiety, or fear. Be willing to consider that before you shut someone out.  Be kind.  Rise above what you perceive to be the expected norm and be a light to someone.”

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