Recently, Calabasas High School (CHS) students have been exposed to the dangers of violence around campus. First, the Los Angeles Unified School District closed down all 900 schools in its district due to an anonymous bomb threat. The day after, CHS went on lockdown due to a nearby fugitive situation.
Unfortunately, many students were unable to take the lockdown seriously. Some even mistook this serious situation for a drill. CHS students and students in general have become desensitized to on-campus threats due to the prevalence of violence in the news and the formation of bad habits during drills.
Gun violence has become an all-too common occurrence in American life. According to psychologytoday.com, the average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and witness 16,000 murders on TV by the time they are 18. Further, more than 250 mass shootings took place in 2015 alone. The frequency of violence, especially gun violence, in the media recently emotionally detaches students from the true reality of a gun-violence related occurrence on campus. In an October press conference that took place after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon, President Obama addressed the issue of Americans becoming numb to gun violence.
“Somehow, this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. We become numb to this,” said Obama.
While drills are necessary, the formation of bad habits during drills has led to a detachment from the reality of a lockdown. For example, many students see lockdown drills as a time to socialize, and some teachers continue teaching their lessons during these drills. This has created a mindset in which the importance of drills is disregarded; unfortunately, this type of thinking manifested itself into the real lockdown at CHS in December. In a time when guns in America outnumber people in America, the casual attitude toward lockdown drills creates a dangerous situation for both students and faculty.
“Students who fail to take drills seriously in times of safety will be ill-prepared to handle crises in times of distress,” said senior Danielle Miller. “There is a reason why our school implements preventative lockdown procedures: it is not to give students time to goof-off or miss class; instead, it is to save lives should an active shooter or dangerous intruder ever enter campus.”
Gun violence and on-campus violence is a serious threat to the lives of individuals throughout the country. CHS students and faculty should work toward creating an environment in which lockdown drills will serve as protection from such violence in order to maintain the livelihoods of all members of the CHS community.