As of 2018, 61.5 % of PRHS students feel that their school has taken little to no precautions to prevent gun violence from reaching their campus.
In a survey of 218 Bearcats, 39.5% of students reported that they were uninformed of school issued drills and safety measures for the event of an on campus shooter. Meanwhile, 22% of students felt that these measures were existent but not constructive. While Mr Sharon, head of school safety, claims that PRHS staff are currently being trained on how to handle gun related instances, students surveyed believe that the staff has not adequately reached out to them on the prevailing issue of gun violence. Freshman Bailey Theisen says “… as a community we haven’t been able to discuss the topic and come up with possible solutions or even inform students on how to deal with events including gun violence.”
According to everytownresearch.org, there were 37 school shootings in 2013, but as of March 7, 2018, there have been 27 school shootings. In the first three months of 2018, America has almost seen a years worth of brutality. On December 11, 2017, the administration sent out a school-wide presentation of revised emergency procedure protocols in response to growing concerns. Teachers presented the modified material during the following block period. Despite the new content, PRHS has not conducted a safety drill or addressed students as a whole about gun violence in the 2017-2018 school year. A week after the Florida shooting in Parkland, PRHS principal Mr. Martinez informed students over the intercom that it was the staff’s “ job to reflect on current practices”. Sophomore Angel Dalool stated, “the topic gets brought up when something tragic happens and then it gets pushed away and it doesn’t get brought up until then again. So I feel that our school hasn’t done absolutely anything to at least prepare us for something to happen.”
Currently, 68.4% of bearcats believe that gun violence is a prevalent issue in American society. While 24.8 % of students remained neutral on the matter, 54.6 % of students believe that there is a need for legal change. PHRS is not the only campus sensing the need for reinforced gun control. Students and teachers nationwide are planning to participate in the #Enough!National School Walkout on March 14, 2018, one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. According to the Women March Youth Empower, the walkout is a protest of Congress and a demand for new legislation reinforcing student safety. As a response to PRHS student’s involvement, the staff extended nutrition of Wednesday the 14th to 17 minutes. According to staff, the extension honors the 17 victims of the Florida shooting and gives bearcats a chance to participate in the protest. The staff also scheduled a motivational assembly before nutrition.
On the topic of semiautomatic weapons and accessories, Senior and AP Government student Stephan Castro said, “Those types of weapons and modifications are designed for soldiers in combat, they are designed to kill. Any gun could kill a person– a handgun that you have could do enough damage that you could protect yourself. I believe civilians do not need military grade weapons because there’s no use for them in civilians hands.”
Paso students feel a discussion of the issue of gun violence is long overdue. On March 14, 2018, students weren’t doing much marching, rather they swarmed the informational booths put up by the equality and progressive clubs. Wielding information like power, kids bore signs decorated with state and senator contact information. Like Emma Gonzalez, the face of the student lead gun movement and Parkland survivor, said, “Everybody needs to understand how we feel and what we went through, because if they don’t, they’re not going to be able to understand why we’re fighting for what we’re fighting for”.
Podcast: Things to remember in an emergency