Spike of violence in schools

Anger in teens is increasingly resulting in deadly outcomes like shootings, fights, and threats

Teachers and administrators across the country are seeing a rise in everything from misbehavior, verbal insults, to fist fights. There has also been an increase in gun related incidents at school. Experts think that all this is coming from pandemic related emotional damage manifesting in small and large ways.

The most recent school shooting was just on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, at Oxford High School in Michigan. Four people were killed and seven injured, including a teacher. Shooter Ethan Crumbley faces many charges, and his parents do as well.

Oxford High School has been under scrutiny for ignoring clear signs that something was going to happen. The day before the shooting Crumbley was caught looking up photos of ammunition during class and on the day of the shooting, a concerning drawing he made was found.

He was immediately taken to the counselors office, his parents were called, and a meeting was held after they arrived. Crumbley was sent back to class.

Hours later, he started shooting people using a gun given to him by his parents.
But this school shooting is not alone: according to the National Association of School Resource Officers, from August 1st to October 1st of this year, 97 gun related incidents were reported in schools. In 2019, during that same time frame, there were 29. Other research reports similar statistics.

School shootings are only part of the spike of violence in schools. I personally have been noticing many fights in the hallways of Annandale High School. Being a sophomore that learned online last year, I do not know what it is normally like.

But it still seems like every other day there is a new fight to watch on Instagram. As entertaining as fights are, students shouldn’t resort to physical means when in a disagreement.

Many think that all this unrest comes from emotional and mental damage students have been facing not only from the pandemic, but from shifting back to normal after the big changes it has caused in their lives.

Stress and anguish is building up in teens in ways that have not been seen before and they are turning to deadly and violent ways to take it out. It did not help that the pandemic stripped many teens of access to mental health professionals.

Additionally, after having to learn online for more than a year, some say that students perhaps do not remember how to properly act or socialize. This specific point is more so a reason for students acting out and clearly does not apply to school shootings, because shooting your fellow peers comes from the aforementioned emotional and mental health damage- something a pandemic can cause.

So what can be done to stop this? The key point to stop school shootings is to simply restrict guns to match the advancement of gun technology.

I favor heavily restricting firearms by imposing background checks on everyone that wants to buy a gun, banning the use of semi-automatic and automatic weapons, and further limiting the sale, purchase, possession, modification, and use of guns. This will have a big impact on the number of guns.

Hopefully the Crumbley case will make parents more cautious about how they store their guns and whether they give their kids one (they shouldn’t). So if this incident isn’t a wake up call for gun supporting parents, at least it will make them be more protective out of fear of going to jail.

As for fights and misbehavior and students acting out, it is simply a time thing, I think. Students are still adjusting to normal life. It is unknown when Covid will end or if it will, but it is clear that students are not the same. I think that the spike in fights and misbehavior also comes from the fear that when we fully go back to normal then we will have to face what really happened, and that’s scary to many.

The pandemic damaged everyone in some way, and everyone covered those wounds with bandages. But when we rip those off, we must face the scars underneath.

In the end, the pandemic had a significant impact on students and that impact is materializing in schools in a wide range of ways of differing weights.

School shootings can be combated by gun control and mental health checks. And the increase of students acting up will gradually go away with time, as they reflect back on the pandemic. This part can be helped by talking with counselors or anyone you trust.

But above all, everyone needs to sympathize with each others’ struggles, understanding that everyone has one and that you are not alone in yours.