Editorial: Run, Fight, Hide

Illustration by Nadia May

Editorial Board, Wingspan

School is meant to be a safe haven for those who need it, but that becomes disrupted when weapons arrive and endanger students. Questions flood the community’s mind: Could this happen in Nixa? Would there be a warning? How should we react?
Shootings can happen anywhere. For instance, the scare at the Springfield Walmart Aug. 8, shortly after the mass shooting at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The possibility of a shooting was not even conceived until 1999 — the year of the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado. Nixa is a relatively small town of over 19,000 people and around 1,800 high school students. A mass shooting shouldn’t be pushed out of the picture just because Nixa is a small town in the Bible Belt of Missouri, but being prepared is more important than being afraid.
Nixa schools have been working hard to make sure their students — as well as the teachers and administration — know how to spot possible issues. Most students can remember the videos during STAR that educate students about warning signs in school and on social media. Hints on social media — posts about guns, their anger, or threats to shoot — are also often linked to attacks. According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), school shootings are known to occur due to the perpetrator feeling suicidal, being overly angry, and having the ability to retrieve a gun. CHOP also gives helpful tips for spotting the warning signs before a shooting occurs: Schools must create a good support system for students, teachers and counselors should make themselves available for students in need, having trust between students and their teachers, and talking things out with students, families, and community leaders involved. Nixa provides mental health services to students and takes time to explain the causes of school shootings and violence. Of course, there is always more that can be done to help students stay safe. Students have mentioned wanting ‘mental health days’ to take off when stress, anxiety, or other mental health issues occur. This could help many students who struggle with attendance due to their mental state.
If a shooting were to ever occur at Nixa, students have been taught to run, hide and fight. Seeking shelter where a perpetrator would have trouble finding anyone is best, but when the time comes, running away — to a nearby house or fire/police station for help and shelter — is a better option. Then, if the perpetrator gets close enough or attempts to fight, students are taught to fight back. It is scary to think about, but running and hiding can’t always save lives, but they are smarter options than fighting.
Banning guns for everyone would not completely solve the problem of school shootings because perpetrators illegally get ahold of the guns anyway. Instead, increasing security by investing in metal detectors would help soothe this issue. People are getting used to having their bags checked for dangerous substances/weapons. Museums and airports have metal detectors and security screenings. Why shouldn’t students be protected in the same way? Nixa has 1,800 students, so it would take a long time to check every child — and not to mention the expense of buying enough metal detectors and employing security screeners — to easily check every student. Although, if metal detectors could help reduce the chances of a school shooting in Nixa, then I believe the time and amount of money spent would be worth it.

 

The Wingspan editorial board is made up of Riley Harris, Carli Snyder, Macie Clark, Pierre Walker, Madalyn Tuning, and Lucy Cave.