Change. Please.


Erin Fuller, Staff Writer

I do not feel safe at school.

Bottom line.

On Wednesday, I walked into school to Bryner’s classroom, and the first person I encountered was Evette Srouji (12); we talked about the Highlands Ranch shooting. I had heard minimal details about it the day before, and once she showed me the tweets and backstory, my heart snapped. Kendrick Castillo leaped on top of the shooter, along with seven other students, and died, saving the others. Students. Saving other students. From students. Because that’s what had to happen.

These past couple of weeks, I’ve been in a daze. I go to school and sit in the classrooms and do my work and leave. But there’s always a situation in the back of my mind, a situation which results in students lying dead next to me. Other people have this nightmare stuck in their head as well, and it’s breaking them down to pieces. No one can focus because we all are making escapes in our head of what we would do if It were to happen to us.

Wednesday night was the Theatre final, 26 Pebbles, written by Eric Ulloa, the story about the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. I walked in and sat down, ready for an excellent performance and a strong message, but all I could think about is if someone walked in with a gun and open fired during the show. I’ve been watching the show when I go into the auditorium during my off period, 6th, so I knew the story well, but it didn’t hit me ever. No stories about shootings have hit me until that night, because I’m so used to hearing about them. After the show, I closed my eyes and listened to the performers talk about their experience with all the threats while rehearsing the show. I felt a tear roll down my face, because all of the past three weeks flooded into my mind and I couldn’t stop thinking. As I left the auditorium, I felt so numb, so quiet, so hit. I got into my car and Isa Lovato (11) asked me what was wrong. I told her my thoughts.

At Aspen Creek in eighth grade, there was a lockdown. We were in 7th period, the last of the day, and we knew where to hide and what to do. The thing is though, there wasn’t any warning at all that day if it was a drill or not. People started to panic, and I just sat there, trying to calm down my friends and making a plan in my head that I would take a bullet for them. I was making a plan to get shot in order to protect the others. Me, an 8th grader, taking a bullet for that entire class. The lockdown was lifted and they told us it was a malfunction in the PA system. We left without another thought.

Mia Correa (11) said she would take a bullet too, but when the threat that ended school after lunch on that Thursday occured, she freezed. I know I will freeze too, because that’s the natural reaction humans have: fight or flight. We’re going to be scared, we can’t all be like Kendrick.

And then I just cried. I cried and I kept saying over and over, “It’s going to happen to us. People keep speaking up and nothing has changed. It’s going to happen to us, and I’m going to freeze. Nothing has changed, no one is going to save us. It’s going to happen to us.”

I accidently took my girlfriend’s phone after lunch, and the thought of a shooter coming in and her not having her phone haunted my thoughts all of 5th period. I wouldn’t be able to contact her, and she couldn’t contact me. I was thinking about that for 90 minutes, anxious to get out and get her phone back to her.

People keep posting about Kendrick on their stories, and it’s aggravating me. I know people care and want to show others that we can’t forget about him, but that’s not going to help. Prayers and commenting “RIP, never forget” and posting pictures of students who are dead will not do anything. It will not stop the threats, it will not stop the shootings. We say goodbye and then move on. It’s what we’re used to. There’s nothing we can do, right? I keep reading these enraged posts on Facebook, and everyone is fighting in the comments. Nothing is being resolved.

Something needs to change. We need better security at school, gun control, and better mental health evaluations. It will be a student. Check ups with students have to happen.

We can work together to change. Please.