Never Say Never to Gun Violence

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International -- by St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

“Unfortunately, school shootings nowadays aren’t uncommon. it’s something we have to prepare for. it’s a thought that I have to have everyday when I’m at work,” said Officer Pienkowski.

School shootings are a difficult topic to talk about but one that has become something that every student, parent, and teacher has had to be aware of daily. No longer are high schools just places for learning, but they have become the location of 128 deaths since the Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999. On average, there have been 10 school shootings per year since Columbine with a low of five in 2002. The shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland Florida last February sparked national attention along with a walkout that many students participated in all across the country. It is a shame that students, teachers, and faculty each day arrive to school and each person deep down has the fear of “what if it happens to me.”

Since then, there have been 17 school shootings. The largest was in Santa Fe, Texas which left 10 people dead — mostly students. Although nothing has been done on the national level, much has been done on the state level since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, including 69 gun control reforms. According to an end-of-year report by the National Advocacy Group, at least half of the states passed at least one gun control measure in 2018.

“My friends [and I] all participated, and I personally really support no gun violence. People shouldn’t be afraid to go to school,” said sophomore Cassie Cappelletti in response to the walkout that occurred on April 20, 2018. At J-DHS, changes include hiring a school resource officer to make the community at J-DHS feel safer. “Unfortunately, school shootings nowadays aren’t uncommon, it’s something we have to prepare for, it’s a thought that I have to have everyday when I’m at work,” said Officer Pienkowski. J-DHS has made improvements since the previous school year to make the school and the people inside of it more safe. “They brought a school resource officer on that the students had fought for and they are working on getting cameras and glass for the cafeteria,” said Officer Pienkowski.

Although this topic has begun to fade from the news since April, it won’t escape the minds of the individuals that each day have to walk into a school building or have to drop their loved ones off. Fortunately, there have been measures taken to help improve the safety of the people that walk through the doors, but you can’t ever guarantee anything.  You can never eliminate this. You won’t erase it from schools, but you can take certain measures to try to help the situation.