(Ed. Note: The following editorial was written by Theresa Grosjean, President of the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board of Trustees)
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McKinleyville High was on lockdown for an hour yesterday. There was no active shooter. There was no specific threat made. Someone saw someone walking near the school with a holstered gun on them (or at least what they thought was) and called the police.
Because in the America we live in today, school violence is all too real a threat.
I have read so many accounts of the trauma our staff and students experienced during that hour. Barricaded in whatever room they were in, as police lights reflected on their walls, as alerts blared through the school speakers, as police went room to room rattling door knobs to make sure they were locked. Not knowing if the threat was real, they waited in locked classrooms. Not knowing if the threat was real, they texted their friends and family. Not knowing if the threat was real, they saw police out of their windows carrying guns.
When the “All Clear” came and they could leave their rooms, they went about their day. Additional counseling was brought in to help those in need deal with their fear and trauma. The threat didn’t need to be real for it to have been traumatic.
Because in the America we live in today, we value gun rights more than people.
Because in the America we live in today, lobbyists have more say than we the people.
Because in the America we live in today, we say we care about mental health, we just don’t care to fund the resources needed to deal with it.
In the America we live in today, people are so busy, working hard banning books, banishing lived history, banning the word gay … all to protect the children.
In the America we live in today, our elected officials expect us to hope that thoughts and prayers will fix our problems.
Our schools should be a place where our kids and teachers and staffs are safe and free from fear. We know why they don’t feel that way. We know what the threats are.
In the America we live in today, there is just not enough will to deal with it.
Our problems are complex and require complex solutions. There is no easy fix. But the desire to make things better should be enough to put our politics aside, roll up our sleeves and get to work actually doing something that will protect people.
In the America we live in today, it’s time for action.