Terror Reigns in Schools: What can we do?


Avery Stephens, Opinion Editor

The United States carries a long history of gun violence within schools. On December 1, 2021, terror reigned at a high school in Michigan. There was a mass shooting at Oxford High School, resulting in four students being killed, six students being wounded, and a teacher being injured. The suspect, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, brought a semi-automatic gun onto the campus and completed the deadliest shooting on school property of 2021. Crumbley is being tried as an adult and faces charges of first-degree murder, terrorism, and assault. His parents are also being charged with involuntary manslaughter. Many questions are being asked:  Was this bloodbath premeditated? Should his parents be charged? How can American schools take steps toward eliminating gun violence? 

According to the New York Times, prosecutor Karen D. McDonald asserted that, “…after reviewing the evidence… it isn’t even a close call: It was absolutely premeditated.” Michigan authorities have collected large amounts of evidence that prove that Crumbley planned this rampage beforehand, including videos taken from his phone and a chilling journal found in his backpack which all explain his desire to violently shoot up the school. Crumbley also published a photo on social media where he showed off his weapon. 

It was noted by school officials that Ethan Crumbley had been showing odd behavior in the classroom. The day before the attack, Crumbley met with the school’s administration to discuss his behavior, and three hours prior to the attack, Crumbley and his parents met with administration again. The details of what was discussed is unknown, however, whatever forms of misconduct that were displayed did not seem to urge the parents to take action. Another horrifying claim made by Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe explained that the semi-automatic weapon was bought by Ethan Crumbley’s father four days prior from the attack. Not only did Ethan share this gun on social media with the caption “Just got my new beauty today,” his mother also reportedly shared a post on social media, writing, “Mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.” The connections are extremely alarming, which is why both of Ethan Crumbley’s parents should be held accountable and charged. 

December 1, 2021 was a horrifying day for many people. Children lost their lives, families and friends lost their loved ones, and all of the students of Oxford High School have lost peers and are experiencing major trauma. School shootings within the United States are sporadic and can be seemingly unpredictable. Even North Little Rock High School is familiar with fear infiltrating the school environment. On October 14, 2021, our school went under a mandatory lockdown due to a shooting near our school. A sophomore male walked out of our school and was shot near E. 22nd and Main Street, however his injuries were not life-threatening. 

Steps have to be taken to prevent gun violence. Children should not walk into school fearing that they might not make it out alive. While it is hard to generalize the motives behind gunmen, it is known that a factor that makes kids want to lash out against their peers and school is deteriorating mental health and bullying. Neither of these are justifications for taking the lives of students whatsoever, however, increasing mental health resources and emphasizing the importance of teacher and staff intervention when dangerous behavior is generated by students can create a more positive school environment. It is critical that the United States’ becomes more preventative in regards to who can acquire firearms, and requiring background checks on all gun sales so that minors and people with dangerous histories can be turned away will be a step towards increased safety. It is time to ensure that our schools are a safe space.