Schools, including American River College, need to bring more awareness to active shooting drills

Students are concerned about school shootings and their safety on campus


School safety is a concern, with school shootings becoming an striking issue in the United States. (Photo via Unsplash)

Many of us truly didn’t understand the value of life, until the news broke on Feb. 14, 2018 about the tragic shooting that occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School, which resulted in the loss of 17 lives. Another 17 people were injured. The day this occurred, the nation was shocked. 

Research done by the non-profit organization Everytown for Gun Safety shows that in 2022, there were an estimated 176 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, which resulted in 57 deaths and 148 injuries nationally. In 2018, there were 105 incidents of gunfire, with 61 deaths and 105 injuries. In four years, the numbers have risen.

There are days when I go on campus where I question how safe I really am. Being a student myself, and knowing that school shootings are happening more often, I feel scared. The last time I went through a safety drill was a year ago in high school. 

What conflicts me the most is seeing how many schools are not practicing active shooting drills before and after the shootings that happened—such as what happened at Stoneman Douglas High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Active shooting drills need to be actively addressed. How are students going to be prepared in a scenario where there is someone dangerous on campus? Active shooting drills need to be normalized and regulated as much as fire drills. 

While I was on the American River College website, I did some research on safety precautions and drills, and found out ARC has an active shooting drill to enforce in case such an incident would happen. I didn’t even know we had a drill for active shootings—I only learned of this through the website.

Afterwards, I questioned, do students know about this drill? If so, did the school take the time to address it to students and staff? I wanted to talk to a few students and see if they were aware of the active shooting drill.

Nigel Santiago, a first year student at ARC, says he generally feels safe going to in-person classes. Although the thought of these school shootings happening, he is aware that there is some security on campus.

“I feel pretty safe because there is a police station,” Santiago said. “I know the school is doing what they can to make us feel safe.”

Yes, the school is doing what they can, but is it enough to ensure our safety? 

Santiago said he was not aware of the drill. It’s come to my attention that not many students know that we had an active shooting drill in the first place, and to me, that’s concerning.

60% of gun deaths among children and teens are gun homicides, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. The rest of the deaths are by suicide or they are unintentional. 

After speaking with first year student Simon Jameson, she sat looking in the distance and let out a sigh, talking about how depressing the issue is.

“It’s not going away any time soon and nothing is really being done about it. It’s increasing not just in schools, but everywhere,” Jameson said.

In the United States, gun violence is one of the top leading causes of deaths among teens and children. While there is not much being done yet in terms of adding new gun laws, the most we can do is to protect ourselves from it. 

Parents drop off their kids to school every day, and pick them up hoping that they are in good hands with the school. Schools can only do so much to ensure that they’re safe and sound within school grounds. However, they have no control over who comes in. 

It’s come to my knowledge that many community colleges and universities don’t practice safety drills as often, because many classes are still online. 

Schools need to establish active shooting drills more frequently. It’s unfortunate that schools have to normalize having these drills often, but in order for students to be adequately prepared in a dangerous scenario it needs to be done.