Fear of School Shootings Adds to Strain on Students’ Mental Health

by Hailey Sepulvado ‘22

Students across the United States have practiced lockdown drills since kindergarten to prepare for the event of a school shooting. The effects of preparing for such a terrible and traumatic event and constantly seeing news stories of schools that have experienced this kind of tragedy are harmful to the youth of America and have heartbreaking consequences.

Students who have experienced a school shooting firsthand are exposed to an amount of violence most people don’t experience in a lifetime. Many students experience PTSD, anxiety, and depression after witnessing something so horrific.

Students can also become desensitized to violence after experiencing it. Researchers have said that violence can seem like an acceptable way for these students to deal with problems in the future.

Moreover, shootings affect those who have seen them on the news or on social media as well. Students across the country fear the possibility of a school shooting. These thoughts affect their education and mental health because of this constant anxiety.

In an article by The Odyssey Online, Temple University student Catherine Campana shared her thoughts on going to school when shootings are so common in today’s society. “I am supposed to feel safe while getting an education, not anxiously waiting for class to be over so I can hurry home. It is not fair to my family to have to worry and be concerned about my safety at a place where I am supposed to be growing, maturing, and learning,” said Campana.

Lockdown drills now occur in 95 percent of schools across America. In an article by The Trace, kindergarteners to seniors were interviewed about how they felt during lockdown drills.

“One kid, he was kind of worried and thought it was real. So he had a panic attack,” said 5th grader Kennedi. Young children have to experience this fear multiple times throughout the year.

Many students said that their teachers have instructed them what to do if a shooter was to enter the classroom. Valuable instruction time is replaced by practicing for a shooting, affecting the education of students as well.

Children growing up in the generation of school shootings have experienced more fear in classrooms than any other generation, which has damaging effects.

Between constantly seeing shootings on the news to experiencing lockdown drills, children are being harmed.