Rise in School Violence Leaves Me and Other Students Feeling Unsafe – The Forest Scout | #schoolsaftey

The 4th of July is a day that celebrates our country’s freedom. It has always been a day I’ve looked forward to – up until now. July 4th, 2022, started as a normal celebration of the holiday- a day full of joy and pride- which eventually turned into a day filled with fear and sadness. I could see smiles on everyone’s faces as the bright floats made their way down the street. Yet, when I looked down at my phone, the joy and pride came to a halt. 

I was met with multiple missed calls from my parents, texts from my siblings asking if I was okay, and the news updates reading: “Shooting in Highland Park.” My heart sank. First, tears flooded my eyes, and then a sense of panic filled my body – I didn’t know where my parents were. 

Fortunately, none of my family members were at the parade, and they were all safe inside our home.

I remember being on the phone with my parents, crying, and them telling me to look for an escape. If something were to happen, they said, find the closest house and run to it as fast as you can. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent the 4th of July at the Highland Park Parade with my family and friends. Younger me was so excited to see what goodies they were handing out or what type of candy I would get. Now, a year after the incident, I fear for the safety of my friends and family. 

I still remember the distinct sinking feeling I felt in my stomach on the 4th of July in 2022. Fear consumed my whole body, and I felt frozen in time. 

Just this week, that feeling resurfaced while I was off campus during my lunch break. I received news from classmates that the school had gone into a soft lockdown because of a security threat. I was immediately taken back to that summer day in July. 

For some, it’s easy to move past incidents like these. For others, like me, it triggers an intense emotional reaction. 

As I frantically began texting my friends in the building, I quickly left the restaurant where I was eating. Knowing nothing about what happened, my friends and I raced to one of our friend’s houses. While there, we tried to figure out what was going on in our school, the school we were supposed to feel safe in. Everyone was calling their parents, letting them know we were okay, and we were desperately trying to figure out the seriousness of the threat itself. 

I should never have to text my brother: “Are you safe? What is going on?” My friend shouldn’t have to Facetime her Dad, who was vacationing in a different state, to let him know that she was okay. We shouldn’t need reassurance from someone’s mom that everything would be okay. It should have been okay in the first place. 

 Security issues, however serious, are frequently normalized in the news. Violence in schools is becoming increasingly common, yet there still seem to be no changes made. 

We go about our days thinking that something like that could never happen to our community…until it does. 

Now, over a year later, there have been five safety incidents on our school grounds, including the soft lockdown this week. However, LFHS is not an anomaly with the threat of violence being prevalent across America. 

For some, it’s easy to move past incidents like these. For others, like me, it triggers an intense emotional reaction. 

This week, I was unaware of what was happening at school, anxiously awaiting an update and subconsciously assuming the worst. We’ve grown up in times where hearing about school violence has been normalized, and in effect, we’ve become desensitized to what once used to be world-halting events. 

Our generation has been forced to mature and adapt to these situations. We should be able to enjoy our high school experience rather than being forced to grow up sooner than we should.

While many dismissed these past incidents and continued on with their everyday lives, the impact still remains for many students. 

Fortunately, LFHS has a security team and leaders who have done so much to keep us safe. Unfortunately, society has made it so that, even with these incredible figures, it’s hard to feel safe all the time.

School should be a place of learning, creativity, and passion, not one of fear. So when will it stop? When will I be able to walk into my school without fear? 

I hope that one day, school will again be a place of happiness, joy, and safety. I hope that when it comes time for me to send my kids to school, I won’t have to worry about them coming home. 

Photo of Bumbaco’s family and friends at the Highland Park Parade.




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