We are barely into the new year of 2018 and, so far, there have been at least 14 school shootings just this year . It is so important to recognize these schools and to make sure they are not forgotten in the midst of previous school shootings. Here is the list of the tragedies that have happened this year:
Winston Salem, North Carolina: A Winston-Salem University football player was shot to death at a campus party.
Italy, Texas: A 15-year-old student was wounded in a shooting in Texas. The suspect, another 15-year-old student, was arrested.
Benton, Kentucky: A 15-year-old shot 16 people - killing two other 15-year-olds - at Marshall County High School. The student faces two charges of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A fight in the parking lot of Lincoln High School led to a 32-year-old man being fatally wounded.
Los Angeles, California: A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head and a 15-year-old girl was shot in the wrist at Sal Castro High School. Two other students were grazed by bullets. A 12-year-old girl was booked for negligent discharge of a firearm in that shooting.
Oxon Hill, Maryland: A high school student was shot in the parking lot of Oxon Hill High. The victim was treated and released. Police arrested two teens and said that they were acquaintances of the victim.
Nashville, Tennessee: A high school student was shot five times in the parking lot of Pearl-Cohn High School.
Parkland, Florida: A 19-year-old man gunned down students and staff with a rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, slaughtering 17 victims. The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, had been expelled from the school over disciplinary problems.
Savannah, Georgia: A person was shot on the campus of Savannah State University and was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.
Itta Bena, Mississippi: A person was shot in a recreational center at Mississippi Valley State University.
Norfolk, Virginia: A student at Norfolk State University was shot from an adjacent dorm room while he was doing homework.
Mount Pleasant, Michigan: Two people were shot to death at a dormitory on the campus of Michigan University.
Jackson, Mississippi: A student was inside a dormitory at Jackson State University.
Birmingham, Alabama: A student was killed and another critically injured after an accidental shooting during dismissal time at Huffman High School.
This list does not include the countless threats made by students at middle schools, high schools, and universities. This list needs to be recognized. Why are we letting young people get their hands on these guns? Why are we letting these things continuously happen to innocent children and young adults? I was having a conversation with a friend of mine from school the other day, and he said that this kind of thing "is sort of normalized now, which is scary." I completely agree. Gun violence within schools is just normal to this country now and that needs to change.
I'm not completely sure if bullying was always pushed under the rug just at my previous high school, or if it continuously happens around the United States. But what I am sure of, is the fact that bullying needs to be talked about. Mental health needs to be talked about. These are, what I believe, the two main causes of gun violence.
28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying. 20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying. These are just the numbers of kids who were brave enough to speak about their experiences. Some kids do not have the courage to speak up, so I personally think the national average is higher than what it is statistically. I was one of those kids that did not want to talk about my experiences with being bullied in high school until a year or so later.
Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior. This happens a lot
One really amazing adaptation of bullying and suicide is a movie called "A Girl Like Her." This movie makes me cry every time because it is something that is close to home for me. It is definitely something I recommend parents, kids, and teachers watch to get a glimpse of what could be happening to their child, a friend, or within their own school. You can find it on Netflix, but the trailer is down below.
When kids develop these mental illnesses because they are being bullied, they are left with nowhere to go but to either hurt themselves or hurt others. I am not saying that the shootings in high schools were excused the behavior, but it just goes to show how certain things are pushed aside and not bothered with. And when people do not recognize these behaviors, situations can arise that can be much worse.
We need to listen to the younger generations and pay attention to how they are feeling throughout their years in school. You can make the change. Look at the warning signs of someone who is being bullied, make sure that they are okay and stable in their own high schools. It is not a bad thing to check up on your own child. Be there for your own kid. They need you more than you think. By doing this, you can prevent future violence -- either done to themselves or to others.
Bullying is real and happens everywhere. Depression, anxiety, and suicide are real. Educate yourselves, be a parent, and stop the violence in our schools.