Threats of a school shooting event invade students’ feelings of security

Fear is one of many feelings provoked during the chaos of the week of the threat.

Mishal Nizar

Fear is one of many feelings provoked during the chaos of the week of the threat.

Anxiety and fear began building throughout last week. Students’ could not stop talking about the shooting threat that went viral. Other schools had heard about the post and their students were contacting Metea students to figure out what was happening. Multiple copycat threats followed the original, building up suspense for the fated day. The day arrived and most students decided to stay home, despite there being no credible threat.

The issue is that even though there was no credible threat, there was still an invasion of our feeling of security. Over 2000 didn’t show up to school because they were stressed about the threat. They didn’t feel safe coming to school, which is a problem when schools should be a safe place for students. With so many students choosing to stay home, and the stress that comes from an event like this, we should not just brush this off. The threat changed the atmosphere of the school for months to come.

The shooting threat completely invalidated the innate feeling of safety students feel within the school. There was an odd feeling of emptiness and dread when a small percentage of students actually showed up. During the passing period between fourth and fifth, students from the PE hallway ran out looking up at the railing. The emptiness was more noticeable when there were around four to eight people in most classes. 

School is a place where everyone should feel safe despite what is going on inside their lives.

School is a place where everyone should feel safe despite what is going on inside their lives. A lot of students seek the stability of school when their home life is unstable and possibly unsafe. Shootings in general add a layer of stress even when the shootings aren’t close to Metea. School shootings as events have invaded the feeling of security that people have. It is not a necessity that there is a credible threat.

Shootings such as Parkland and Sandy Hook have elevated students’ anxiety and depression as school shootings have become more commonplace. Therefore what comes from these events is a panic disorder that revolves around being in an active shooter situation. Harmless acts become panic-inducing events to people with this type of panic disorder. Their brain simply assumes the worst even when it seems completely unreasonable that there could be an active shooter situation. Even generalized anxiety gets worse because it adds a dynamic that they could die any day theoretically. That theoretical situation is frightening as it can cause students to create disastrous situations inside their head. 

This is not something that teenagers should have to worry about. During a lunch period last year, someone decided to throw a book down from the railing. The lunch period went dead silent for around five seconds. Some people froze. Some people grabbed their backpack and got ready to escape. There was no threat or indication of a potential shooting during that day. A decade or so ago people would just register that it is a loud noise and nothing of it. However, in the current crisis, this is not the case. There is a reason that even without a credible threat, a lot of students decided to stay home.

It is easy to compare this incident to other events that make students feel unsafe. Whenever a fight breaks out, it might be entertaining to watch and film it, but deep down there is some fear that this could happen to anyone else. However, now this fear is even more valid than ever due to the threats. The feeling of being unsafe will not just last a couple days, it could last weeks or until next school year. Some of the rumors going around were talking about how it could easily happen next week when security measures go down. For a while, any signs that could lead to something happening are horrendous even when the initial action could be harmless.

The students who made the threat and spread it should have thought about how the entire dynamic of the school was going to change. Whether they wanted attention, or just the day off, it is clear that they were not thinking about the feelings of unease that will be prevalent for months to come.