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Opinion >  Editorial

Sabrina Sladich: Protect us as we study

Sabrina Sladich

In the past five years there have been 12 school shootings where students and staff were targeted. Not related to gang violence. All with casualties. Fifty-seven students and staff killed. Countless lives of their friends and families destroyed. And still no gun legislation.

I’m currently a junior at Lewis and Clark High School. School shootings have been increasing significantly since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, but I started paying much closer attention after Freeman. I remember sitting in my third-period class when the lockdown was announced; none of us knew what was happening.

After a while, our teacher told us what had happened: There had been a shooting at one of the other high schools, and we were all on lockdown “just in case.” I’m sure I don’t have to remind anyone of the death, injuries and community heartbreak that came from the Freeman shooting.

School is supposed to be a safe place, and it sucks to be constantly reminded that it’s not anymore. In my first-period class the day after the Parkland shooting, my classmates were talking about how someone had pulled the fire alarm, putting more people in harm’s way. Their parents are telling them to run the other way if the fire alarm goes off. Teachers have plans for stopping someone if they come into the classroom. Personally, I don’t know what I’d do. I’m just praying it doesn’t happen.

Many schools now have active-shooter drills, along with the normal fire drill and lockdown drill, although mine doesn’t. I don’t feel terrified every time I walk through the school doors, but it seems like every day the world gets more dangerous, and the number of places considered completely safe drops. School shootings are happening more and more often, and everyone is being forced to face the possibility that their school might be next. My school.

Teachers and administrators are trying to find ways to increase security, students are asked to be on the lookout constantly for anything that might be a “tell” that a classmate is planning to shoot up the school, and still, our government is doing nothing to help keep us safe.

There have been too many shootings and too many deaths. The Second Amendment is important, but there has to be a limit. There has to be a point where we finally say “enough.” When students have access to a semi-automatic military-grade rifle, when these guns show up in so many mass shootings, some kind of restrictions need to be created.

If they were illegal in the marketplace, they would be less accessible and owners would be more easily prosecuted before violence erupted. If parents were held accountable for keeping their weapons out of the hands of their kids, they’d be more motivated to lock their weapons up safely. If semi-automatic weapons were restricted, then at least the number of victims would be reduced.

Maybe stricter gun laws won’t stop the shootings, but it’ll sure make them harder to accomplish. And it is the job of the government to protect its people, especially when the people are kids just trying to feel safe in their schools – a place the law requires us to be.

Sabrina Sladich is a junior at Lewis and Clark High School.

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