Younger students exposed to threats

The true number of school shooting victims extends far beyond the already substantial list of the dead. 

School shootings are at the root of tragedies such as teen suicides and PTSD, psychological factors with long-term effects. Unfortunately, gun violence continues to impact even our youngest generation.

Cal High has had its fair share of violent threats over the past few years. Sadly, this epidemic has now infected middle and elementary schools, a morbid trend circulating throughout the nation. 

Coyote Creek Elementary was placed on lockdown on Dec. 3 after a bathroom graffiti message read, “Evry body [sic] dies at 12:30.” A district email indicated the message was written by a fifth-grader.

Iron Horse Middle School was on lockdown on Nov. 7 after the discovery of similar violent graffiti in the bathroom. This message promised to shoot up the school at noon, according to a district email alert. 

Most recently, Windemere Ranch Middle School received a threat on Dec. 9 promising a “school shooting Fri 13th.” 

Violent threats have snaked down the ladder of seniority, each new iteration occurring in younger age groups. This is evident with Washington, D.C., first grader MaKenzie Woody, who experienced three school shootings between September and November of 2018. 

“The lockdowns… have changed her, because the little girl with long braids and chocolate-brown eyes remembers what it was like before them, when she always felt safe at her school, and… when that feeling disappeared,” The Denver Post wrote.

A vulnerable child learning ABCs shouldn’t have to learn how to run, fight, and hide in anticipation of a school shooting. 

Numerous reports show that children are disproportionately affected by gun violence, both directly and indirectly. 

A study of third through eighth graders published by Princeton University indicated that youth may get caught in a cycle of violence. The study noted that repeated exposure to violence may “desensitize youth to the effects of violence and increase the likelihood that they will use violence as a means of resolving problems.”

A culture of gun violence is trickling down to the youngest among us, and the long-term effects are already becoming cemented in our society. 

With components of psychological trauma involved, it’s hard to say when this cycle will end.