Almost exactly 2 years ago, I sat in the very seat I sit in now and wrote about the disease that plagued America: school shootings. And now, in 2020, the most cursed year of all cursed years, I sit here again, talking about 2 diseases that plague America: COVID-19, and again, school shootings. Yet, ironically, the physical disease that has swept across our world has become a saving grace in the atrocities that are school shootings.
March 2020 was a historical month. Yes, it was the month that the entirety of the world shut down due to COVID-19. Yes, it was the month of the national toilet paper shortage. Yes, it was the month of “The Bachelor” finale. But hidden behind all of those headlines was one snippet of news that offered both relief and uneasiness.
On April 14, 2020, Sophie Lewis for CNN wrote the article, “March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting in the U.S. since 2002.”
This means that the class of 2021 onwards has not seen a month of March without a school shooting in their lifetime. That was, until COVID-19 shut down schools.
So, the global pandemic that closed down schools, businesses, and shattered the lives of unsuspecting humans was the answer to all of our school shooting issues.
And I ask, did it really require a global pandemic?
Did it really require the mass shutdown of our country for the majority of the month of March for violence to stop?
Did it really take a disease as aggressive as COVID-19 to get people to stop walking into schools with guns and shooting innocent children?
As we get further into September and schools begin to return to on campus learning, I have no doubt that the figures of school shootings will once again rise. I have no doubt that students will have to shield themselves with desks and textbooks once the normality of school resumes. I have no doubt that worried parents will hesitantly drop their children off at school, praying that they return home safely at the end of the day.
So now, more than ever, we have to speak up. This disease that America suffers from, unlike COVID-19, cannot be resolved with a vaccine. Though masks protect us and others from COVID-19, we cannot be kept safe from school shootings by covering our mouths and noses. Every single student that walks into school runs the risk of not exiting.
As school resumes, be aware. Be vocal about this topic. Stand up for keeping every child that walks into school safe. Speak up about how pivotal it is for students to be comfortable in a physical school setting, not being ready to cower behind a desk and fight for their lives at any given moment. Fight for the ability to feel safe, because it should not take a global pandemic to stop the gun violence that takes place in schools. It should take our voice and our pleas to stop that violence.
Photo Credits: Daily Breeze