Since 2012, when the disastrous Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place, thousands more mass shootings have occurred, many of which happened in school classrooms or somewhere else on school property. Our tutors in Fountain Valley have discovered that these statistics may have lead to a new trend among both teachers and students.
Dark Statistics Lead to the Creation of Wills
Perhaps because of the alarming statistics mentioned above, a new trend has begun among students and teachers: creating a will in the event they become victims of a school shooting. In 2018, Birmingham, Alabama sixth-grader, Javon Davies, penned instructions about what should happen to his cat, his PlayStation and other belongings if he were killed in a school shooting. This is just one example of a student creating a will in light of the possibility of being shot at school.
The fear of being murdered in school during such an attack is not something any student should be pondering; however, numerous students have these very thoughts on a daily basis. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018 indicated that most teens are frightened of the possibility that their school may become the next target for a mass shooting.
Constant Threat to Security Interferes with Healthy Psychological Development
Licensed psychotherapist, Azadeh Ghafari, who specializes in behavioral and emotional disorders, stated to a Teen Vogue journalist that the danger of being the victim of a mass shooting and the fear it engenders is damaging to a person’s mental health. Ghafari said that this is particularly true with regard to young people who are continuously bombarded with headlines regarding gun violence. Ghafari stated that security and safety are crucial to students’ healthy psychological development, and that they are at risk of developing mood or anxiety disorders if this sense of security is continuously disrupted with reports of violence.
Active Shooter Drills Held in Many Schools
Along with hearing and reading about school shootings through various media outlets, numerous students in the United States now participate in active shooter drills at the school they attend. Thousands of school districts across the country have adopted programs such as “ALICE,” which was designed to train teachers and students to fight for survival if such an event takes place. During drills of this kind, adults and children role-play various scenarios involving active shooters and practice things such as barricading th door, getting to the nearest exit, and even self-defense techniques. Our tutors agree that none of this should feel normal to students, yet such drills are even being conducted with greater frequency in public schools as the years go on.
A Continuing Trend
One history teacher in California had a will created following the Parkland, Florida school shooting, stating that it was always in the back of her mind that such an event could take place at her school, but that after the Parkland shooting she began talking about it more often with her co-workers.
Tony, a high school senior, stated to Teen Vogue that several of his friends created wills during the summer of 2019, as they were moved by the Dayton and El Paso shootings. Tony keeps the document at home in a desk drawer. He stated that the group of friends had dscussed making wills several times since news of Javon Davies’ will went viral, but after the two aforementioned shootings happened on the same day, they followed through with their intentions.
One of our math tutors in Irvine stated “It’s tough because these are divisive issues that people are very passionate about. I think sometimes people get frustrated and lose focus of the overall goal which is to ensure the safety of our children. I’m hopeful that some day soon we can have civil discussions about these topics as a country, and then enact policies and procedures that will give us all some peace of mind.”