Granada’s thoughts on gun control and school safety

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By Hadia Chaudhry and Grethel Muralles

On February 14, seventeen people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The events of that day sparked discussion about gun legislation and school shootings not only in Florida, but all across America.

In 2017, there were a total of 63 school shootings. This year, there have already been 14 school shootings involving casualties. As a result, students at Granada Hills Charter (GHC) have freely expressed their opinions about gun laws and school safety very openly. Out of the 1,456 students surveyed, 40.1% said that they hardly ever thought about school shootings before the Parkland shooting.

“I personally think that before the Parkland shooting, not many teenagers really cared about gun control. After the Las Vegas shooting and the Sandy Hook shooting, some people have started to worry about it, but not so much teens in high school. We all think we are invincible and no one believes a shooter would actually enter school grounds and harm someone we know,” junior Bianca Ruiz said.

Now that students are focusing more on the topic, there is a lingering fear of school shootings.

“What are we supposed to do if there is an active shooter on campus?” freshman Winnie Wang asked.

Wang is not alone in being unaware about what to do during an active shooter situation. Thirty three percent of students also answered that they did not know what to do in the case of an active shooter on campus.

“Students should not be afraid of going to school. It is a place where parents send their kids to learn. No parent expects his or her children to die in a place where it is supposed to be ‘safe,’” freshman Dayanara Salinas said.

The fear and lack of safety felt by students lead 82.2% of students to believe more laws restricting gun access are necessary.

“Gun control is a matter of safety. There is nothing political about safety, and unlike politics, safety is not an area for discussion. Everyone has the right to be safe,” senior Adelaide Apostle said.

However, this opinion is not shared by all students, who have expressed their concern towards implementing stricter gun laws.

“If someone wants to get a gun, he or she will get it no matter what. Stricter gun control would push people to buy them illegally, as opposed to buying from a proper tradesperson,” freshman Lauren Shane said.

Stricter gun laws, however, are only one part of the debate surrounding gun control. Mental health is also a topic of concern, since many shooters have been identified as being mentally ill. Sixty two percent of students believe mental health support will help to reduce the number of school shootings.

“School shootings could be prevented if students spoke out about peers who posted questionable things online, seem mentally unstable, or speak of destructive ideas. Those students can then be brought to a dean or referred to a mental health professional,” sophomore Elizabeth Luchinski said.

Mental health screenings are only one way to help prevent these shootings. One suggestion that President Donald Trump offered was to arm teachers with guns. However, many students have shown distaste and opposition towards this solution. In fact, 87.3% of students believe that arming teachers with guns is not a proper solution to prevent school shootings.

Regardless of the divided opinions on gun violence and school safety, it is imperative to understand what students think about these topics. Undoubtedly, this is the beginning of a long journey of civic action and engagement that many students are going to embark on.

Author: Grethel Muralles

"Maybe it's just in America, but it seems that if you're passionate about something, it freaks people out. You're considered bizarre or eccentric. To me, it means you just know who you are." -Tim Burton "Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?" -Tim Burton

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