Lincoln High School Statesman

“The ugly truth is that we are no longer safe in our schools”

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Chloe Crissman, Staff Writer, Meet The Varsity Editor

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*TRIGGER WARNING*

The words “school shooting” used to have the same effect as swear words do with children. We whispered about it but could never raise our voices above a murmur. Now we scream it from microphones, we argue about it on social media and we become divided in times when we need unity. We are 22 weeks into 2018 and there have already been 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. How does this happen? Some people will blame the gunsman, others will blame the gun and the NRA, but really what does that matter? The ugly truth is that we are no longer safe in our schools.

The time has come where I drive to school in dread. Not because of an impending test but because, as dramatic as it seems, I fear for my life. LHS has two amazing school resource officers, who I trust wholeheartedly, but that is almost all we have to protect us from a catastrophe. We have no metal detectors at our entrances and only have one to two lockdown drills a year, and we are told if we are in a hallway and hear gunshots we should run to the closest classroom. However this method is no longer relevant. Our schools need to prepare us for a school shooting like they prepare us for a fire. I know exactly what door to exit from in the case of a fire and where to huddle as I wait for the fire truck’s wail to approach our school.

According to Huffington Post, “People who act, rather than simply react tend to recover mentally and emotionally quicker than people who simply cave into the situation.”

Because we are taught outdated ways of protecting ourselves and our peers, I think it is best to have additional advice on how to save your life in a school shooting.

The first step to do is to prepare and train in advance. We need more than one or two drills a year. We need updated teaching, and when we are taught not to run and hide, we need to act quickly. You cannot hesitate because seconds cost lives. You cannot waste time trying to figure out which door to exit from or which window to open. You have to instinctively move and move without fault. When you are in crisis mode, your mind becomes impaired. You can’t comprehend things you read or see. Exit signs become foreign languages to those who are in distress. Know where to go and how to get there quickly.

Try and lock doors as you move. It isn’t as easy to shoot through a locked door as it may appear in TV and movies. The shooter would need to remove the bolt which takes more time than they want to waste. Also, knock over desks and chairs as you move to safety. This not only buys you more time, but it creates an obstacle for the shooter when they want the easiest way to a target. This helps not only you and your peers move farther away from the threat, but it also buys the police, who are on their way, time to do their jobs to save your life.

Move in groups. It is far easier for the shooter to hit a target that is alone accurately rather than a moving group of people. If you do get hit, keep moving. The other people around should be trained to help you get out of school as quickly as possible, by whatever means necessary.

If your only option is to hide, make it as hard for the shooter to reach you as possible. As I mentioned before, throw desks and cabinets around the room. If you can find the closest fire extinguisher, set it off as you hide. The shooter will be nervous and breathing heavily and won’t want to deal with chemicals in the air or anything that will impair them.

If you can’t hide and you can’t run, as scary as this sounds, you have to fight. The best option, if you aren’t familiar with hand-to-hand combat, is to go crazy. Kick, scream, punch, grab pencils or scissors, anything you can to create a distraction and a nuisance to the shooter. You don’t have to be strong to hurt someone. You have limited time so hit them where it counts. This may anger the shooter and cause them to fire off more shots, but these shots will not be accurate and usually won’t severely injure anyone. If you do get hurt, keep fighting.

Once outside the building, run to a designated safe spot. Keep your hands and body free of any extra items like a backpack or phone. The police are looking for someone with something in their hands, so it is in your best interest to have your hands above your head, free of any items.

Survival doesn’t stop once the shooting is over. It is paramount to keep track of your mental health as well as your physical health. If you have survived a school shooting, don’t refuse to talk to people. Don’t pretend like you are okay, because no one is okay after being put in a life-threatening situation. Once you feel you are ready, get back into normal activities and make routines for yourself. Most importantly, you cannot blame yourself for any of the aftermaths of a school shooting. Nothing was your fault.

It makes me sick to my stomach and causes tears to well up in my eyes to write this article, but at this point we have to be prepared for anything. The safety of students all around our nation depends on how well we are informed. Please students, be strong and be ready.

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Chloe Crissman, Staff Writer
Chloe Crissman is a new addition to the Statesman staff. When Crissman is not in the gym makin’ “gainz”,  she enjoy eating “sketti” with her good friend Somer Luitjens. The Statesman is not the only school activity Crissman participates in; she is also on the LHS volleyball team and student council. Crissman also spends her...