Student Conversations on National School Shootings
Fear and anxiety have always been prevalent among college students due to rigorous schoolwork and planning their future careers. The safety of their lives is now an added reason to the list. Some students at the Mount share this fear and anxiety around the rampant national school shootings this year. Others, however, are optimistic about the future and can foresee change with collective action and understanding.
Students’ reactions to gun violence vary but most share the natural response of frustration and defeat. Antonio Luna (C’25) conveyed his frustration saying, “What irks me the most is how it’s been normalized; there’s no policy to be implemented or no great national reaction.” Many others share this irksome feeling like Luna, as there has been more divisive speech rather than collective action to put an end to such a horrific phenomenon.
Cheyenne McGowan (C’24) shared a more solemn reaction to gun violence at schools. She stated, “I feel very defeated, I have two younger sisters in school and I worry about their safety.” Those who are at college or in the workplace who do not have children may feel far removed from the issue, but students such as McGowan and parents must face the dread of seeing the news of gun violence affect those who resemble their younger family and friends.
Most Americans are aware that school shootings have entered the college domain. There is the question, however, of whether it will become more common on college campuses as it is in primary education. Tanya Yahouedeou (C’25) shared her opinion to the question, saying, “I think it will stay predominately in elementary and secondary schools because they’re more easily accessible and that is where it hurts the most.”
Yahouedeou, like many have realized that the perpetrators of these atrocities are seeking to harm not just their victims, but those who care for them. Everyone has a heart for children and young teens, so seeing the future lost to egregious and gruesome deaths from gun violence brings pain to their communities.
Students’ sense of safety in the U.S. is important, but what is most important is how safe they feel in the institution they call home. Many students tended to state that they feel safe at Mount St. Mary’s University. Reasons for their sense of safety at the Mount ranged from the isolated location, the positive school community, the lack of gun culture in the surrounding area and the proficiency of Public Safety.
Colin Long (C’25) regarding his feelings of safety at the Mount remarked, “Public safety has the necessary preparedness and are very efficient.” Having a space that makes a student feel safe, even in these tumultuous times for the nation, is a privileged feeling that every student at the Mount should feel thankful for. It also is a testament to the strength and community of the university.