School Safety Concerns

Recent Nashville, Tennessee school shooting sparks an outrage.

Recent Nashville, Tennessee school shooting sparks an outrage.

School shootings have unfortunately been at the forefront of our national headlines, and a heated debate among gun control activists since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Since then, there have been sixty-eight school shootings. As far as mass shootings in general, there have been more this year than there have been days of the year, with at least 146 mass shootings reported. Some have been more devastating than others, but they have all had horrific outcomes, and have left lasting impacts on the communities they occurred in. 

The most recent school shooting case happened in Nashville, Tennessee at a private Christian elementary school on March 27th. The shooting took place over approximately 15 minutes as the shooter opened fire inside the hallways and through classrooms. The police ended up fatally shooting the suspect within four minutes of entering the school. Ever since the attack in 2022 also occurring at an elementary school, in Uvalde, Texas, police response time to active shooters has come under scrutiny. Due to this, safety precautions and responses to active shooters were altered, improved, and shortened across the nation. Subsequently, in Nashville, police officers were able to identify and stop the shooter within fifteen minutes, compared to the seventy minutes it took the police station to neutralize the threat at the devastating Uvalde massacre. 

Following the devastating event that killed six individuals, including three nine year-olds who attended the school, hundreds of parents and students alike gathered to protest outside of the Tennessee Capitol on the Thursday after the shooting unfolded. Protestors lined the halls, shouting the phrases their signs held such as “protect kids not guns” and “am I next?” indicating their fear, and desire to be heard by the state legislature. In response to the Columbine shooting, there was a renewed call for stricter gun laws. However, despite the tragedy and the subsequent outrage, little has been done to address the issue at a national level. Advocates of stricter gun laws argue that the ease of access to firearms is a contributing factor to these tragic events. Many also argue that the Second Amendment was intended solely for militia since individual and collective gun rights for military purposes at the time were inseparable. Additionally, with the ratification of the Second Amendment, there was no direct mention of individual right to a gun for self defense purposes which blurs the lines of constitutional rights to bear arms for many Americans.

Firearms have become the leading cause of death for children and teens, surpassing motor vehicle deaths with the uptick in gun violence that has occurred across the 21st Century. Parents and students are outraged at the minimal change in gun laws that has occured, that they believe should be much more major in response to these statistics. 

When junior Matthew Chung was asked about how safe he felt on campus with the prevalence of these violent events he said, “I think it’s crazy how we have to worry about school shootings at San Marcos considering we live in such a safe place like Santa Barbara. When I come to school I come to learn. Never a day in my life did I think I would have to fear coming to school, and I hope that with the strong safety precautions we have in place we can keep it this way.” 

Despite the differing opinions regarding gun control, and how these instances of violence can be mitigated, these protests have brought to our attention an important issue that affects the lives of everyone; the safety of the children in our communities being a top priority.