The classroom is the last place you should feel unsafe in. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for me.
As an American student, I’m terrified to go to class. Due to the increasing shootings on campuses, going to class in the United States is a place I feel least safe at.
How backward is that? I should feel confident that I can learn and not be harmed at the same time. School should be a place where I can focus on my studies.
But in the back of my mind, I’m constantly on high alert for potential danger while I’m sitting in my lectures.
The minute I step into the classroom, I instantly search for a doorstop. Doorstops can make it more difficult for an intruder to enter the room.
In my university, the doors usually lock once you close them.
But what if the armed person breaks the lock? A doorstop is one of the most important and essential items that should be in the classroom.
My second thought process is searching for ways to barricade myself and my peers inside the room, in the event of an active shooter on campus.
How long will it take to pile the desks on top of each other?
Which corner is the safest to hide in?
If we can manage to break the windows in the classroom, can we climb our way down?
What’s our move if the shooter breaks the door window? What do we do then?
These are only a few of the questions I ask myself when I enter a classroom. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.
Don’t get me wrong. America has a great education system and I’m grateful to have been accepted into my university.
But when I walk into a campus building, and the first thing I see is a video guide of what to do during an active shooter incident, what else am I supposed to think?
When yet another breaking news report shows students frantically running out of their school, how else am I supposed to feel?
Before the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, these incidents weren’t occurring like they are today. When I learned that someone carrying a gun walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and killed children, I couldn’t believe that this is the society I’m living in.
Shootings at Virginia Tech, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Sante Fe High School, and many more followed.
I can’t help but wonder… am I next? Is my university next?
How many more? How many more student and faculty lives are going to be taken at the hands of someone who thinks murder is the answer?
Something needs to change. Unfortunately, the gun versus mental health debate is in a constant state of controversy. And I fear that it will never end.
I shouldn’t feel this way. No student, faculty member, or parent should.
But I do have this fear. And until something gets done, I’ll continue to look for a doorstop.