The dangers of gun violence and bullying in 2020

Hannah Figueroa

The year 2020 brings the excitement of a new decade, fresh starts and the opportunity to better ourselves through personal growth. However, considering the recurring issue of gun violence, especially in schools, this year we need to focus not just on ourselves, but our community as a whole. Together, we can step forward as a school to make Tualatin safer and a more positive environment for all.

So, what does Tualatin High School have to say about gun violence? Carrying such a wide demographic regarding race, gender and political opinions, our school has a spectrum of beliefs, ranging from the banning of all guns to the encouragement of bearing arms.

Sophomore Simon Ulibarri believes, “People should be educated on guns. There’s a bad stigma around them. If people knew how they worked, it would be safer.”

There’s a common theme among students on education and experience; some agree that those who have completed background checks and taken classes deserve to become responsible gun owners.

Other students such as sophomore Izzy Barton feel, “Parents who own guns are not only responsible for the safety of themselves, but children and teens who could be potentially suicidal.”

As of now, gun control in the U.S. allows the purchase of shotguns and rifles for those 18 years and older, and handguns for citizens 21 years and older. However, an argument against the restriction of arms is something called the gun show loophole, an easy way to buy weapons without background checks.

Junior Ivan Martinez explains, “You can go to a gun show and anyone can purchase a gun legally without background checks, since these weapons are registered under the name of the seller, not the buyer.”

Although coming to a consensus regarding the issue is near impossible, there are things our community can do personally to make Tualatin safer, from stricter security to just treating others with kindness. A main aspect of safety enforcement is the strength of our school’s security, and if Tualatin High School is doing enough.

Whether or not one believes our forms of prevention are effective or a priority to the school, the most important step is communication, and having honest conversations about how we can improve together.

Equally important, a new study conducted confirmed that bullied students are twice as likely to bring weapons to school, feeling unsafe and in need of protection.

Sophomore Cassia Tippet explains what kindness means to her in a simple yet effective way: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

Of course, bullying neither forgives nor excuses the tragedy of a school shooting, but by being more empathetic as individuals and as a school, we can create a safe space to accommodate everyone. Ultimately, in this upcoming decade, Tualatin High School has the opportunity to come together as a community because everyone deserves to feel safe at school.