As a student at Healdsburg High School, I have never felt particularly unsafe in class. That being said, when I hear about the latest school shooting on the news, I have to wonder if the students there had also felt safe at their school.
I know that kids across the country hunker beneath desks during lockdown drills like we do. Perhaps they are throwing wads of paper at each other just like us and cracking jokes about how they would defeat a school shooter by throwing textbooks. A couple of them might actually have to.
According to a January study published by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit focused on gun violence prevention, there is a direct correlation between states with stronger gun regulations and lower rates of gun deaths, including homicides, suicides and accidental killings. California has made strides towards better regulation by restricting certain types of firearms and the parts used to make them, as well as requiring licenses to distribute weapons.
I feel privileged to live in a state that I perceive to be safer than most. But in light of recent events like the fatal stabbing at Montgomery High School, and threats being called into schools around the county, including at Healdsburg High, I feel an increase in anxiety amongst students and families.
Even in a safe town like Healdsburg, we should continue to acknowledge that there is still work to be done in order to ensure the safety of all students.
The most macabre aspect of the culture of violence in schools to me is the normalization of it. It feels as though I hear of a new school shooting every month or so, but that doesn’t mean we should become desensitized.
The topic of violence in schools is uncomfortable to even think about at times. It is hard to understand the trauma that the survivors experience, or the grief that the families of victims feel. Works like If I Don’t Make It, I Love You and other artistic demonstrations serve to make us acknowledge the tragedy more. To feel it, sit with it, and with any luck, do something about it.
Kiran Meyer is a senior at Healdsburg High with an interest in journalism, economics and tennis. She will be attending UCLA next year.