Locked down into a new normal
Students react to recent influx in threats, lockdowns
by Grace Laudenthal
There have been 32 school shootings in the United States this year alone as of December 16, according to Education Week. While students at Holt High School find themselves saddened by all of these shootings, things change when they make their way closer to Holt’s community with the shooting at Oxford High School.
With the influx of social media threats, students felt many emotions at different severities. However, as time’s gone on, these feelings have changed. Now, more than anything, they feel that the situation is becoming more normalized.
“It’s sort of, like, a reoccurring thing at this point,” said junior Darren Klopp.
Because of how consistent the threats are, Klopp is no longer surprised when the school goes into lockdown.
According to sophomore Reida Williams, students need to speak out as a way to combat these threats.
“Student voices are needed because we are the school. We make up the school,” Williams said.
Williams was one of the students who helped organize the walk-out protest that took place on Nov. 4. A group of students sent out a letter detailing their reasons for the protest.
“We don’t feel like the young adults we are taught to be when the staff is treating us like children,” the letter said.
This point stems from the lack of communication between the school and students, as well as their families. The group felt the school's transparency needed to improve and were angry about the fact that they don’t know what’s going on.
However, not every student believes the communication is bad. Klopp says the school is good at sending out emails. If anything, he believes they’re unnecessary and the school sends out too many.
“I feel like they just keep inflicting stuff that’s not going to really help and whatnot,” Klopp said.
These threats have made it difficult for all students to return to normalcy and to come back to in-person learning.
Freshman students have been hit even harder as they’re transitioning into high school for the first time. Freshman Sophia Anderson said there wasn’t as much violence at the junior high.
“It's a big step because I went from seventh grade to the high school. But yeah, it was a big change,” Anderson said.
The stress of entering the high school is amplified as shootings make their way closer to Holt. The recent shooting at Oxford High School has made the student body as a whole feel tense.
Williams said there were two ways students have been reacting to the shooting.
“The shooting that happened at Oxford has made kids scared and others act out,” she said.
This shooting was the deadliest since 2018, according to Education Week. Because of its proximity to Holt, many students are more worried than they were before. Klopp isn’t sure he feels safe coming to school every day.
“It's sort of like a surprise, I think. You know, it's like you don't know what you're gonna get. Depends on the day,” Klopp said.
The school has implemented multiple new policies, such as the backpack and bathroom policy, to increase student safety. The backpack policy requires students to have clear or mesh backpacks. The bathroom policy controls when students are allowed to leave class to go to the bathroom and where they are allowed to go in the school with their pass. Klopp doesn’t think the policies have made a difference.
“I guess it kinda helped, but then again there was, like, a lot of anger throughout people, so, in my opinion, I don't see a change,” he said.
Klopp and Anderson agree that the problem hasn’t been solved just yet and think the threats will continue. Because of the concern about safety, there are many students who have missed some days of school. Both Klopp and Anderson were a part of this group.
With tensions high, students want someone to blame. Many upperclassmen said that they think it’s the underclassmen that are the cause. However, not everyone agrees with this accusation.
“I feel like there are a lot of freshmen that are bad, but not all of them. So when they say ‘the underclassmen,’ it's hard for the good kids because it's unfair that the whole class is getting blamed when it's only certain people,” said Anderson.
In the end, the thing students want most is for these threats to stop. The only problem is that they aren’t sure about what needs to be done for this to happen.
Klopp said, “I mean, there's no way of telling exactly how to stop something like that. I mean, it's just gonna keep coming.”
Graphic by Grace Laubenthal