There were at least 11 shootings in Georgia schools and colleges last year, in which nine people were injured, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. Statewide, he also had 195 cases of students being disciplined for bringing handguns to school in the 2021-22 school year, according to Georgia Department of Education data, which he recorded in 2014-15. almost three times as much.
The school says it has increased security. Doors back into the building are kept locked at most schools, except when students change classrooms or when school begins and ends. All public schools in metropolitan areas have cameras and resource officers. Some schools have a clear backpack policy and metal detectors.
Nevertheless, the headlines and statistics made many students uneasy. For Taylor, that means wearing colors she thinks help her blend in. For others, each classroom devises an escape plan in case the worst happens. That’s it.
Taylor Jones, 17
On October 26, Taylor and Brookwood’s classmates frantically dropped the orchestra’s instruments and ran into the storage room. They turned off all the lights, locked all the doors, and hid quietly. A hard lockdown was prompted after a social media post claimed someone had a gun on campus, according to an email sent to the parents. silently panicked about the white jeans she was wearing that day, making her stand out in the crowd.
I was thinking about all those stories like, “I survived by hiding behind a friend who was gunned down by pretending to be dead.” I was thinking about all these things I might have to do, but it sucked,” she said.
That same day, 17-year-old DeAndre Henderson was shot dead near Norcross High School after leaving campus around noon, police said.
A few weeks ago, Taylor’s school was circulated with a photo of a bullet stuck over a urinal with the message, “Tomorrow at the third time, I will show the bully who I am.” I was. Taylor saw it. She planned where to hide for the rest of the day and which route to take to leave campus.
Teddy Johnson, 11
An intruder alarm went off at Sagamore Hills Elementary in DeKalb County. The breakdown was caused by a storm, but at the time lockdown was considered a reality. Hiding in the dark, Teddy was the student closest to the door. Some students cried.
The incident happened over a year ago, but Teddy is still thinking about it. “I tell them to stop, but it doesn’t really work,” he said.
While Teddy feels safe, he is still afraid that something might happen.
“A killer could come at any time and kill me by breaking the window in my room,” said Teddy.
Bianca Orfila Molinet, 16 years old
Bianca, a senior at North Cobb High School, said lockdowns scare her fear of not knowing if the threat is real. Bianca said when the lockdown was accidentally triggered during her freshman year, she walked into the classroom with tears in her eyes and asked her students to remain calm and seated. said, she recalled. Earlier this school year, there was another accidental alarm that made the school Code Red.
Bianca often thinks about the victims of the 2012 shooting deaths of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
“If Sandy Hook’s children had survived, they would have been my age today,” Bianca said. what would i do?
Dameon Cooper, 14
Atlanta’s Carver Early College has metal detectors and a clear policy on backpacks, but Dameon worries it’s still too easy to bring weapons into the school. He said a gunman opened fire on campus a few months ago. The school went into a soft lockdown during which classes continued, but all doors were locked. Another time, Dameon said, a gun flew out of a student’s rucksack during a fight.
He wants the school to have more resource officers, check on students every time they enter or leave the building, and better enforce the clear bag policy.
Dameon believes that mental health issues lead to violence in schools, and teachers should always have a caring ear.
“We should meet with all the kids and discuss gun issues,” he said.
Julianna Wright, 10
As a fifth grader at Gwinnett’s Sugar Hill Elementary School, Juliana doesn’t have to worry too much about her safety. But she wonders if lockdown measures will keep her safe in the event of a mass shooting inside the building. She thinks there should be a better way to barricade classroom doors.
“It’s a really serious situation and I don’t think we all have a chance to survive,” Juliana said. “Sometimes I get nervous because I know someone might come in. And I don’t want that to happen to my school.”
In third grade, Juliana was surprised to see her classmates showing off pocket knives to their friends. None of her students threatened, but Juliana said she was taken out of class to talk to her administrator about the incident.
Like several students interviewed, Juliana believes that teachers will protect her if threatened.
“I feel safe in the school building because I know that the people and teachers there will sacrifice to save us,” she said.
Lily Johnson, 12
At Henderson Middle School in DeKalb County, educators are trying to curb fights and other violence by having teachers monitor hallways while students change classes, Lilly said.
She also said she knew the teachers would get in the way of the threat looming over her.
Still, there are days when she gets nervous about going to school, like the day there was a nationwide school shooting threat on TikTok in 2021.
“The only time I feel a little uncomfortable is when I hear a fight or a cop with a drug dog,” she said, noting that she only heard the dog’s voice once.
She worries that it might be too easy for students to bring weapons and other prohibited items onto campus.
Nia Batra, 14
A freshman at Decatur High School said she didn’t feel safe at school. However, students are still allowed to bring other bags, and she fears it would be too easy to sneak a weapon inside.
She said drills are frequent during both soft and hard lockdowns. However, given the threat, she is unsure whether to follow those plans.
“I don’t think cuddling behind a bunch of desks is what I’m cooperating with,” Nia said. ”
Sophia Pietro, 16 years old
In October 2021, Sophia heard of threats believed to be directed at her school, Harrison High School in Cobb. Turns out she was at Harrison High School in another state.
“I remember being very nervous.” “I need to experience shooting.”
The threat was not real.
Still, Sophia said she didn’t feel safe at school either. But she doesn’t blame her district for it. She said federal and state laws aimed at keeping violence off school campuses need to be tougher to protect all schools, not just Harrison High School.
weapons in school
In the 2021-22 school year, in some of the largest school districts in metropolitan Atlanta, count how many times school officials said a student was disciplined for bringing a handgun, rifle, or other firearm to school. Below:
district firearms incident
Source: Georgia Department of Education