Gun Safety: Saving lives at Penrice

One news topic on everyone’s minds recently is the school shooting in Florida.            

On February 14th 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. 19 year old Nikolas Cruz (a former student of the school) carried out the attack with a semiautomatic rifle. Seventeen school students were killed and fourteen fatally injured; it is known to be one of the deadliest school massacres since 2012.

Previously, Nikolas Cruz was investigated by the local police and the department of children and family services after posting evidence of self-harm on the Snapchat app. A person close to the suspect contacted the FBI to provide “information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behaviour and disturbing social media posts.” On top of this, the suspect previously joked he would one day “shoot up the school” after he was expelled and commented on YouTube: “I am going to be a professional school shooter”.

Nikolas was arrested in Coral Springs and later confessed to murdering seventeen students.

Donald Trump believes that all teachers should be armed. “It’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them and they’d go for specialist training.” He also stated, “I want my schools protected just like I want my banks protected.”

As a response to the shooting, thousands of students across the United States walked out of class on Wednesday 14th March around 10am, to demand stricter gun laws as part tribute and part protest. It lasted seventeen minutes, one for each that sadly died.

Students from Stoneman Douglas High School believe:

  • All assault weapons should be banned
  • Universal background checks are required before gun sales
  • A gun violence restraining law needs to be passed that would allow courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behaviour

We feel that this is a huge issue that needs more than just ‘thoughts and prayers.’

We interviewed staff and students at Penrice:

Mr Cardigan, Assistant Principal for Behaviour, shared his views:

Q: What do you think of Donald Trump’s proposition to arm teachers?

A: “I disagree, it will enhance issues they have. 17 or 18 incidents have occurred in schools this year; they should review what they do in terms of their gun laws.”

Q: If you were in this position, would you feel safer and prefer it if you and your colleagues were armed?

A: “No, I would feel more anxious and nervous about potential dangers it could bring.”

Q: If this were to happen to Penrice, what safety precautions would you take?

A: “The priority is to keep students safe and immediately follow the emergency evacuation procedure. We pride ourselves at Penrice for having outstanding safeguarding procedures.”

Overall, we think that safety in school is of utmost importance but that this can be achieved through mental health awareness and first-aid training, like what is happening at Penrice, rather than arming teachers with lethal weapons.

By Ocean, Phoebe and Robin