Eve Gross | Torrey Pines High School Senior
On May 31, Torrey Pines High School students woke up to an email informing them that school was cancelled. A former student had threatened to shoot up the school.
“To be honest, when we received the shooting threat I didn’t really feel anything,” Plewe, a TPHS senior, said. “I feel like we’re all so used to gun violence and shootings now that most students didn’t feel the full effect of the threat and were just happy to have a day off of school … everyone is so desensitized.”
That threat was preceded by two others to the school by current students near the beginning of 2018, one of which prompted the postponement of a pep rally. In March, a Canyon Crest Academy student was arrested for making shooting threats. With such a high risk of tragedy surrounding the schools, and the increasing normalization of mass shootings, students are wondering how they can protect their own lives in a place intended to eliminate that worry.
Plewe said that TPHS’s decision to close a parking lot gate during school hours is “more of a nuisance to the kids that need to use that gate than a protective measure” and that there is little that the school can do without restricting students’ freedom.
“It’s awful that it’s a problem that the school should have to be concerned with,” Plewe said. “They should only need to be concerned with teaching students and guiding them, not making sure they’re not getting shot at.”
At CCA, students have created a Team Enough club to recruit more young people to join the fight against gun violence. Sharma-Welsh, one of the club’s presidents, said that they are currently planning a town hall for January called “Finding Common Ground” to devise larger scale solutions that the majority can agree upon.
“[The people in our club] want the bloodshed to stop,” Sharma-Welsh said. “They don’t want to be scared every time they see a shadowy figure walk by their classrooms. They don’t want to be scared that they will be killed by a student in their class who has a temper.”
Club members, who currently total around 15, meet every other week to discuss recent mass shootings and articles on the topic, Sharma-Welsh said. Ultimately, the club’s goal is to promote sensible regulations, like mandatory background checks.
As evidenced by the large volume of students engaging in anti-gun violence activism across the country, many students agree that preventive measures must start on the side of the weapon, not the school.
“Everyone is affected by gun violence, but elected representatives across the country haven’t done much to stop it,” Sharma-Welsh said. “Students should be able to learn in a safe environment; instead, classrooms are becoming war zones. If we want things to change, we have to take a stand.”