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OPINION: We shouldn’t have to be afraid to go to school

I was 12 years old when the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting took the lives of 20 students and six educators. That was the age I knew things were going to change forever, though I didn’t understand.


All I knew is I was afraid. Afraid of someone coming into my small elementary school and doing the same thing to my friends and me.

I was 15 years old when my freshman teacher gave us a detailed plan of what he planned to do if there was a school shooter. He told us the best ways to escape and even how to defend ourselves using the materials in the classroom.

I was 17 years old when Nikolas Cruz went to Parkland High School and opened fire, killing 14 students and three teachers.

After that, I remember jumping at every single noise because I was unsure if it was just an object being dropped or if someone had finally snapped and decided to take it out on a school full of innocent kids and teachers.

I was 18 years old after the Santa Fe High School shooting killed ten, and the students at my school decided that enough was enough. We all walked out of school, holding signs that read “Defend our schools” and “We are students, we are victims, we are change.” We hoped this would raise awareness, that something would change.

But nothing did.

According to the Washington Post, there have been 386 school shootings since Columbine and at least 201 students and teachers have been killed.

School is supposed to be our safe space; a place where we can learn new things, meet friends and take part in extracurricular activities. Instead, it is a place where we have to be hyperaware of our surroundings, a place where we wonder if today will be the day someone will come in with a gun, a place where we don’t feel safe.

As the new school year begins, my breath catches in my throat as I await news of the first school shooting of the year.

Americans care far too much about the security of their rights to bear arms than for the safety of the nation’s children. This shouldn’t be the case. We should be more concerned at the rising number of student deaths at the hands of school shooters.

We shouldn’t be afraid of going to school, but we are.

America, do better.

Destiny Torres is an opinion writer. Contact her at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Destiny Torres, Opinion Writer
Destiny is an opinion writer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in creative writing. She enjoys writing about things she's most passionate about. Contact her at [email protected].

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    Todd S. HawleyAug 24, 2023 at 8:34 am

    Thank you for this important opinion piece. It’s very powerful and your voice matters and has influence. Keep pushing. Others are tired of thoughts and prayers and are ready to end the violence of school shootings.