Uptick in shooting threats leaves students constantly on guard

Isabella Kneeshaw, Co-Feature Editor

It took almost a year and a half of online school due to a global pandemic to put a halt to school shootings, and now amidst rising COVID cases, the threats are reawakening.

Students are feeling the weight of these unsafe circumstances now more than ever, as Tualatin High School recently reported potential violence on Dec. 10 when threats began circulating on social media. An email was sent from the school with the subject line, “IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING POTENTIAL THREAT TO TUALATIN HIGH SCHOOL” just an hour and 15 minutes before the bell for first period.

Incidents like this are becoming more and more common. In an anonymous interview with The Wolf,  a Tualatin High School student shared their own feelings after a neighboring school where they formerly attended experienced a shooting of their own. 

“I did not think the neighboring school’s shooting affected me very much. After all it wasn’t my school, nor was I there. But after the morning of the threat, I felt different about it, and all these unresolved emotions were brought back to the surface,” the student explained. “There is something very desensitizing about tragedies that happen to others compared to when it hits close to home.”

Seeing or hearing of other schools being affected alone is often concerning enough to negatively impact students in their learning environment, but the reality that it could occur any day at your own school puts a new perspective on the gravity of these potentially dangerous situations. 

As far as the threat targeting Tualatin High School, many students opted to stay home that day due to fear and lack of information. Often when people hear of danger, their minds jump to the worst case scenario, and when it comes to safety at school, that is no different. 

“I was really scared at first; for all I knew, somebody had directly stated that they would bring a gun that day. I was incredibly worried for my friends, as most of them ended up going that day,” freshman Alex Ehrhart stated. “My decision to stay home was made because of a lack of information about the severity of the threats. Additionally, I figured that one Friday at school was not something I would risk my life for.”

Not only do these circumstances incite a level of fear and anxiety in a person, they also have an effect on school performance. Students feel the distractions that come with anxieties like school shootings on a daily basis. 

“I try very hard not to think about school shootings. The only time I ever really think about it is when a potato chip bag pops randomly in the lunchroom. Then suddenly, all the possible headlines rush through my mind before it gets laughed off. It’s very cliché, but I would rather channel my worry into a science test than anything else,” the anonymous student said in response to a question regarding feelings about attending school. 

Constantly carrying around the weight of the reality that you or someone you know could be killed while simply attending school presents questions around the dangers that not only current students face, but future students as well.