On the morning Monday, October 29, 2018, a fight broke out in a hallway of Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina. This altercation turned deadly when one sixteen-year-old student pulled a gun out and fatally shot another sixteen-year-old student. An ambulance came, and the victim was taken to the hospital where he later died the same day. After the chaotic incident, the school went into lock down, but many concerned parents rushed the school’s entrance to locate and evacuate their children. As tragic was this event is up to this point, what followed after this was even more disturbing. On all of its publication platforms, the school issued a statement, detailing the event and informing parents that the school would remain open AND that classes would resume as per usual.
Let’s take a moment to think about what this really means. My classmate was shot and killed at 7:30am in the hallway, but I am supposed to report to 9am English and return to business as usual? Parents and students claim that the school kept students on lock down for the first 90-minute block period and then asked students to move to their second period classes. Although hundreds of parents came to get their children, and many others also streamed out of the school following the incident, of the 2,200 Butler High School students, approximately 100 students stayed the entirety of the school day until regular dismissal time and attended their Monday classes.
Added to the fact that situation was handled quite questionably, there has been a severe lack of news coverage for this incident. I only learned about it through a twitter news story that was advertised for one day. Not a single person that I have asked about the shooting has even heard of this news. Have school shootings become so normalized in our country that they do not even make the front page anymore?
It is heartbreaking to me to think that our youth are growing up in a day and age where they are dismissed from school for inclement weather but not for a murder that happens during school breakfast. How will this affect the students’ ability to learn in school? Will they even be able to focus if they do not feel safe? This story illustrates why it is imperative that we as citizens exercise our democratic right to influence the laws and policies that affect our daily lives, and especially the lives of our youth who are not yet able to vote themselves.