EYE OF THE TIGER’S VIEW: Florida shooting should inspire action

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EYE OF THE TIGER’S VIEW: Florida shooting should inspire action

(JASMINE LUNAR EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JASMINE LUNAR EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JASMINE LUNAR EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JASMINE LUNAR EYE OF THE TIGER)

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America is in mourning. For many, the sorrow is not as inhibiting as it once was when news of 13 lost lives at a Colorado high school broke nearly two decades ago. No current RHS students were alive when Columbine took place, but understand its impact because we’ve seen the same horrors repeated on American campuses nearly 50 times since.
Now, we are mourning the 17 lives lost at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida two weeks ago. As teenagers, we understand the inhibiting sorrow well because our peers across the country are either dead, scarred or worried they could be next.

Although we are not politicians, lobbyists or billionaire influencers, we realize we can do more. School shootings should not be normalized, but are something to be aware of and prepared for.
During interviews conducted last spring regarding reinforcement of RHS’ threat protocol RHS administrators told Eye of the Tiger they encourage students to follow their instincts during hypothetical active shooter situations and showed enthusiasm when implementing the national “Run, Hide, Fight” procedure. However, since the story’s publication, RHS students have heard very little about the procedure and under what circumstances they are advised to “run,” “hide” or “fight.”

Although RHS began installing “lock blocks” to secure classroom doors last week, this school year, it has simulated zero active shooter threats. ROAR lessons at the start of each semester focused first on school culture and then basics of the acronym. While telling students what it means to be respectful, on task, aware and responsible for the millionth time since schooling began is well-intentioned, this time could’ve been spent to explain the procedure administration was so enthusiastic about implementing. In a time when students can’t make it through four periods without teachers or administrators mentioning lives currently being lost at a similar high school, it is necessary to prepare them for Stoneman Douglas High School’s recent reality.

RHS students and others nationally are more than aware of this current state. Momentum is building among high schoolers nationwide and many are calling for a “National School Walkout” next month in protest of current gun laws. This movement demanded the country’s attention within days of its creation, showing the impact empowered students can have.

High school is often known as something that prepares students for “the real world.” However, a lack of urgency and political efficacy among students can be built upon this label. Students seeing other students die at the hands of something caused by a national and lawful injustice is a dramatic enough reality to propel them to the same playing field as any adult. Nobody should wait to be in “the real world” before they start affecting change. It should be taught and understood that nobody is too young to fight for what they believe in. As students, we have the choice to be victims or the change we wish to see. It is important to know, when we are impassioned, our protests, letters to representatives and amplified voices echo on Capitol Hill and can have greater influence than even the NRA.

 

(This article represents the views of the 2017-18 editorial board.)