Parkland School Shooting Q&A: by Tu Anh Duong


1.) Upon hearing the tragedy that occurred in Florida, what was your initial reaction?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
My initial reaction was pure disgust and horror, but honestly, as horrible as it sounds, it sounded like a typical event in the U.S. Events like these, although truly terrible and traumatizing, it has become normalized and typical in our world today and it’s personally kinda scary.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

Well it’s kinda sad because I obviously thought “oh my god that’s just absolutely awful” and I’m still concerned for the people down there but I also thought “oh man another one.” The country has way to many of these incidents occurring, one alone is more than bad.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
I was in complete shock and afterwards sad to hear that another tragedy occurred for everyone in that school and their families.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I was disappointed and sad to hear that another mass shooting happened, especially one in school.

2.) What do you think about the school’s recent crackdown on safety protocol?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I think it’s something that they should have been doing already, and that it’s a little scary how many teachers didn’t know what they were doing and neither did students before recent events.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

Our school personally? We are very loose with protocol, I know people who leave and enter whenever they want to among other things. As a country, I think we should be a little more cautious, I just don’t know how.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
It’s something that has to be done. Not only to keep us safe but the teachers as well. We need to make our schools as safe as possible.

 

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I think it is the best response to a tragedy of this kind. Shootings like the one in Parkland could happen anywhere and it’s almost a bit comforting to know our school is taking the possibility of a threat seriously. Schools are supposed to educate, no one should have to worry about dying at school.

3.) What are your opinions on gun safety?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I feel like guns are an aid for violent people to achieve what they want to. As much as I’d love for guns to be banned entirely, underground dealers will still deal them, violent people will still find ways to harm others, and I feel like people will feel threatened by police officers who need to have these weapons to protect us so they will a demand a right to protect themselves. That’s where it snowballs. One person feels threatened by another who has a gun, so they find something to protect themselves with, then someone else does the same, and soon enough a weapon will get into the wrong hands. Guns being banned would be amazing, but it’s a complicated process and in reality, this issue isn’t about that or mental health, it’s about violent people who have no control. Guns just help them do what they want to. However, getting more guns in is an even worse idea.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

Oh boy, I honestly don’t know, my family has never owned a gun besides my Dad. I think there should be better background checks for mental illness or violent acts and all while purchasing that kind of stuff. Also, the reasoning of why you’d want a gun factors into that.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
The government needs to do more background checks. They also need to see whether the person who is buying weapons, are they mentally fit and stable?

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I’m not against people owning guns, I know people who rely on their rifles to provide food for their families and I have gone to a range and shoot guns before too.  Other countries have stepped up their background check game, required classes, and a license before people can own guns. I do not think guns in general are the problem, but semiautomatic rifles, such as an AR-15 are unnecessary for civilian use.  The society we have grown up in has a sort of normalcy about shootings. Playing violent video games, hearing about murder on the radio or news has become daily aspects of our lives. If we know the mentally ill have access to guns, and semi automatics guns, then we should be preventing that from happening.  Strengthening our gun laws is a way to stop the deaths of innocent people.

4.) Before the Parkland shooting, did you feel safe going to school? What about afterwards?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I never felt safe at school, even before this, but it never stopped me from going to school. It was never constantly on my mind, just an awareness that violence was possible. Now, it’s a constant thought. My parents are afraid to send me to school because they don’t think I’m safe, and I know many of my friends don’t feel safe either.

 

Jack S. – 11th Grade

I haven’t really thought of it but to be honest not all the time, there’s a bunch of precarious people around and after the lockdown two years ago, some people are still a little worried, especially close to West, and a lot of stuff goes down there.
SO JUST TO CLARIFY WHEN YOU SAY “PEOPLE ARE STILL A LITTLE WORRIED ESPECIALLY CLOSE TO WEST,” DO YOU MEAN PEOPLE HERE AS WELL?
Yeah, people will joke about Manchester and all but last year there was a long period of homicides occurring. People began comparing Manchester to Chicago. Also, after Ian J.’s death, people have been very angry and worried.
For me personally, I know the odds of harm actually coming for me is very low but the idea that it is still possible is a little scary.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
Before, I did feel safe but now I feel otherwise. We shouldn’t be afraid to go to school but we do and it saddens me that it is not only schools but churches, clubs, concerts, and almost anywhere else where they are people.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I felt relatively secure in school before the tragedy in Florida.  Safety is hard to ensure, but I trusted that in the event of a disaster my teachers would be capable of keeping things in control to the best of their abilities. My freshman year, we had a lockdown on class day, the seniors’ last day of school. We knew there were guns, but it took a while to find out that they were paintball guns rather than a weapon or true danger.  I will never forget the feeling of being locked in a dark closet waiting and listening for what could be the worst. After the shooting, I still feel the same sense of almost full security in school as before because school safety is in the spotlight of concern Nationwide, which gives me hope that it will improve.

 

5.) What would you like to see happen in the future, safety wise?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I’m not really sure. More regulations and restrictions on guns, the purchase of it would be the most ideal in my opinion.

 

Jack S. – 11th Grade

I wish less people had to die for the country to learn that some aren’t ready for certain guns, and that we need to also care for the mentally ill people more so they don’t lash out in ways like this. None of these shootings should have happened, losing a family member in that way is absolutely painful.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
No more of this. It breaks families apart.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I would like to see a civilian ban on semiautomatic rifles, such as the AR-15. Teachers not to carry handguns unless they have taken classes, been licensed, and checked. And for heightened awareness, security around school entrances. I believe we should practice drills more often too.

 

6.) A school officer who was armed, did NOT enter the building to confront the shooter. He has since been resigned. What are your thoughts on this?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I think it depends on what he was doing. If he was helping students leaving the building safely, that’s different. Everyone gets scared, however, it’s his job to protect the children. I think it’d be best for schools to have more than one officer so they feel like they have more of a chance.

 

Jack S. – 11th Grade

I mean in a way he should’ve been on the situation, if he had an opportunity to stop the shooting, but at the same time it’s hard to ask for someone to run into danger like that. I would have to know more details and maybe even the guy a little more to give a full answer.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
Kinda mad. I’m not sure how to respond to this. Like did he not enter for good reasoning or bad? At the same time, it would’ve helped or made it worse.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I can’t be sure exactly what situation he was in at the time, but if he knew there was an active shooter in the school and that he could stop it, he should have ran in there and acted to the best of his ability to end the threat.

7.) Have you seen any of the teachers worried? From your POV, have you seen them take any additional steps, safety wise?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I’ve noticed a few teachers afraid that they wouldn’t know what to do in an event like that, but not many have taken additional precautions.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

From teachers, nothing really. They all say the same, “thoughts and prayers,” line but who knows? Maybe there is something we don’t know.

 

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
Talking to us about safety and seeing something strange, report it. I feel good that they’re trying to reach out to us about it.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I have not seen any noticeable changes in my teachers or any additional steps taken safety wise.

8.) Do you know about the upcoming national school walkout? Do you know what it is about?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
Yes, I have heard a lot about it, though it’s a little confusing. I think it’s about raising awareness for gun violence and honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

I’ve heard about many, one’s actually on my birthday. I like the idea of it but I already know that one wasn’t successful. If I’m right, kids are saying they’re walking out of school to protest the lack of safety laws, and will continue doing so until it changes.

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
Yes, I do. It’s to remember the people who lost their lives in Parkland.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
Yes I do know about the school walkout. I believe it may be a good way to show how committed students are for improvement in our country.

9.) What do you want the outcome of the walkouts to be?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
I’d like for it to raise awareness of gun violence and maybe convince people of the severity of this event.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

Well with what I heard about the first one didn’t have much success, even so, if it was, it is going to take more than that.  

Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
To be successful, but not only that but to remember these people. They lost their lives. They were the same age as us.

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
I want the walkouts to be taken seriously by the adults, media, and politicians. I want change to come from solidarity and peaceful protest as women’s suffrage was gained. I hope there can be better gun control and mental health problems.

10.) Do you plan on participating in the walkouts?
Delia C. – 10th Grade
Most likely.

Jack S. – 11th Grade

No, that would be considered skipping and with that comes trouble, and I personally don’t want to risk getting my transcript “dirty.” Not one detention, and I plan on keeping it like that.


Hamza Z. – 11th Grade
I’m on the fence for it but I will definitely take a consideration for it.

 

Ashleigh W. – 11th Grade
Although I would like to, I do not think so as my Mom will not allow me to because I would miss too much school work.

 

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