In March of 2020, when we received notice that we would be subjected to the chaos of a hastily put together online class due to the pandemic, I felt a small core of relief amid the roaring vortex of confusion and negativity inside of me. While I lamented the loss of prom, sports and social interaction, I was secretly grateful: no more traumatizing active shooter drills, no more instinctive searching for exits every time I entered a room, no more running for my life. Despite my isolation, I was safe at home.
During the yearlong lockdown, school shootings dropped to historic levels. In fact, March of 2020 was the first March in 18 years with zero school shootings. Of the 10 total reported school shootings in 2020, five of them occurred in January, before the first mass quarantine.
As we inch closer to achieving herd immunity through vaccinations, schools have begun to reopen, with more students returning to in-person classes. With this steady renewal of prepandemic life comes another indication of normality: gun violence. In 2021, there have already been 17 reported incidents of gunfire on school campuses across the United States, despite most schools still operating at a limited capacity.
No student should have to go to school wondering if they will leave in the afternoon. School is a place for learning, not violence, but our lawmakers and politicians have enabled a society where school shootings are so common, they barely warrant a headline. Even an inept administration with no preventive mask messaging could stumble their way to the fastest vaccine development in the history of modern medicine; yet no administration has been able to brainpower their way to a vaccine for gun violence. So far, the most effective solution to ending school shootings has been a global pandemic that sent the entire world into lockdown. As the Covid-19 pandemic comes to an end, it is time to focus on the true pandemic for the youth of America: school shootings.
Cramer, Maria. “Mass Shootings in Public Spaces Had Become Less Frequent During The Pandemic.” The New York Times, 19 March 2021.
“Gunfire on School Grounds in the United States.” Everytown Research, 12 April 2021.
Maxwell, Lesli, Holly Peele and Denisa R. Superville. “School Shootings in 2020: How Many and Where.” Education Week, 2 March 2021.