The lives of Columbine students Steven Curnow, John Tomlin, and Kelly Flemming were not enough and neither were the 338,000 students in the U.S. who have experienced gun violence at their schools. Now, in February 2023, that number is now 340,579 students because of East High School.
On Monday, February 13th, a student was shot outside East High School. While it technically wasn’t Denver Public Schools’ property, it was only steps away. “I will never be able to unsee the student or unhear the gunshots,” Sadie Bercovitz, a senior at East says. Many students made their way to their cars between class periods when the shooting happened. Not only did students hear multiple gunshots, but some witnessed the victim shot in their car.
Fear: “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.” School: “An institution for educating children.” According to Virtual College, the best learning environment is a positive one with minimal distractions. Side conversations and kids running in the hallway can always add distractions to a student's environment, but so can the sound of gunshots and the fear in your mind that someone could come in at any minute.
“I have witnessed fights, COVID, bomb threats, and protestors, but never in my four years have I been afraid to go to school.” Says Ellie McGoldrick, a senior at East High School. Students continuously hear about it on the news and learn about it in their classes but as a student, you never expect to have something like that happen at your own school. The bubble you live in pops and the evil reality of gun violence spatters into your daily life.
I posted a poll on my personal Instagram story asking students to reply honestly. The results revealed that 84 out of 119 students said they do not feel safe at school and 102 out of 118 students said they do not feel heard by their school's administration. The question is what are DPS and East administrations going to do to keep their students safe? They cannot change gun laws but they can help more students feel safe to walk into the school building. They canceled school and had us wear masks to keep us safe during the pandemic, but what is protecting us from this epidemic happening right outside our school? Junior Anna Boyle expresses, “They seem to make all these promises about safety and improving mental health, yet don’t follow through.” Where are the improvements in counseling that DPS promised we would receive after taking away the SROs that kept us safe?