As news broke out about the Chardon High School shooting, all I could think about was, “What if that was our school?”
Just last week, a student who didn’t even attend Chardon opened fire in the cafeteria at about 7:30 a.m. He fired 10 shots, hitting five and grazing one. Three died from the injuries. It all took less than an hour for the shooter to get to school, to fire, to be captured. But it’s the aftermath and the emotional damage that will last a lifetime.
The students of Chardon High School returned this past Friday with tear filled eyes. Some were glad to go back and feel a little normality after the chaos. Others knew things would never be the same.
As I researched the shooting, it only scared me more for the future other schools could have. Hearing the distressed voices on the 911 phone calls, watching the videos of students leaving in a state of panic from the front doors of the school, viewing the photos that shared parents’ relieved expressions as they embraced their child: it all became so real, and I can’t even imagine if that was to happen here at John Glenn.
Most shooters in a school setting end up taking their own life. In Chardon’s case, it was different. Investigators have the opportunity to pry farther into the teenager’s motive.
This had me thinking about bullying cases. We hear it every day: lists of school “sluts” and hate messages written on the bathroom stalls, seniors picking out freshmen’s flaws, those less athletic being put down. Where does it end?
Not just Chardon but every school shooting should send a message. You might find it surprising, but I think they send both a negative and a positive one. This is where the domino effect comes into play.
One student bullies another. This pushes other immature students to do the same. The behavior continues until it results in an act of violence from the bullied. News of the shooting then travels to other schools. It gives other bullied teens ideas, continuing the domino effect, or, it could bring about a more positive result, where the bullies and other schools learn from such a disaster.
This shooting so near to our town really hit me hard. I took a step back and looked at how we treat each other here at John Glenn. I watched people’s reactions to the cards we were writing in Pride Period to send to Chardon. Do you know what some people said? “What am I supposed to write? Sorry it was only three [killed]?” There were even drawings on some cards of the lives taken and the shooter. Is this really how our school views this act of violence?
Grow up. It’s time we stop with the petty name calling and put downs and make sure our school is a safe place to be. It doesn’t have to be all rainbows and butterflies, but if we can stop this domino effect from hitting John Glenn, it’s less lives lost, and that’s what really matters.