Every time I hear of a new school shooting I can't help but look around at my campus and wonder what we would do if we were in the same situation. Since these shootings have become more prevalent and fatalities have been rising, people are noticing just how vulnerable schools are and we aren't prepared to handle it.
Last year, the University of Texas at Austin was under a lockdown because there was a man on campus who had stabbed multiple students, killing one. That same day, reports of bomb threats and other stabbings were being passed around through social media, leaving students frantically worrying about their safety.
Then just last week, there were unattended guns found in academic buildings.
Campus policies allow students to carry concealed registered guns on campus and I wonder with fear when our own day will come? I hear students talk about using their own guns to combat whoever's threatening our campus but what if they shoot another student while trying to do so?
Does that risk really outweigh doing nothing?
Hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school kids walk onto our UT campus unknowing of the violent events that have occurred and blindly trust their teachers and our own to protect them.
If I had it my way, I would cancel school tours until we had visible safety policies in place.
Every time I watch these tourists gawk at our architecture and the endless academic programs we provide and allow the children to run rampant throughout the dining areas, all I can think about is where would they go?
Where would I go?
Until our government decides to sever its ties with groups like the National Rifle Association, who keep putting guns into anyone's hands rather than putting children's lives last, we need to be more active about safety awareness.
Some professors on the UT Austin campus have made it their own responsibility by prohibiting weapons in their classrooms and plastering signs in their windows reading 'Gun-Free UT.'
Student organizations like UT student government have pushed for more police monitoring on campus, up-to-date safety alerts, and Sure Walk in an attempt to reduce nighttime risks.
The legislation UT student government has been able to get passed has been amazing, but it must not stop there. Safety policies shouldn't stop advancing once UT Austin domain, they should be passed on to other schools and collaborated on.
There shouldn't be one school left behind.
Like what the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school have begun, if the students must take on the responsibility of ensuring their own safety, so be it.
We'll get it done.