The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The psychological effects of gun violence on students

Nowadays, nowhere is safe. Not parades, movie theaters, grocery stores, concerts or rallies. Not even our schools. People across America fear for their lives daily. 

I think about the possibility of a shooting happening at Kaneland at least five times a day. I worry about proximity to exits, whether the door locks or not, where my brothers are in the school and whether I will walk out of school alive or leave in a body bag. These are things I think about every day. These are not things that a 16-year-old should have to worry about. And on top of that, I have to worry about my parents, who are teachers at the same school. The most terrifying thought I think about every day is that if there were to be an incident at their school, I could lose both parents in one day. That is a traumatizing thought. 

188 Kaneland students were voluntarily polled on how often they consider the possibility of an active intruder at Kaneland. 44% reported thinking about it one to five times a day, 4% said they thought about it six to 10 times a day and 9% reported considering the possibility over 10 times a day. These are alarming statistics. Students should not come to school feeling like there could be an active intruder situation at any moment. 

If recent events prove anything, it does not matter how many law enforcement officers are present. Shootings can still happen. In Kansas City, Missouri, on February 14, 2024, there was a mass shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ celebratory Super Bowl parade. The Kansas City Police Department had 800 officers on the scene, yet it still happened. “I think that’s something that all of us who are parents, who are just regular people living each day, have to decide what we wish to do about,” Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas said at a press conference. “Parades, rallies, schools, movies. It seems like almost nothing is safe.” Lucas attended the celebratory parade with his wife and mother.

Now think about schools. Sandy Hook Elementary School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Robb Elementary School were all locations of mass shootings where children died. Like our high school, many schools may have a school resource officer present at all times during the school day. If 800 officers cannot prevent a mass shooting, how are one or two supposed to prevent one in a school?

According to a study by the BBC on gun violence in 2023, there were 632 mass shootings in the United States where four or more people died. The highest recording of mass shootings by year was in 2021, with 690. Americans fear going out to complete their daily tasks, and it has become evident that arming the rest of the nation is not fixing the problem. There needs to be action taken by the government. 

President Joe Biden has been working to enact new gun control legislation, but the journey has been slow. Biden’s goals for the new legislation include banning assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as requiring an in-depth background check for all gun sales.

I agree with all of the rules listed in the new legislation. I do not see why a citizen of the United States needs to carry or own an assault-style weapon. These weapons are designed for military purposes and to fire from long range, with a high-capacity magazine. There is no reason someone needs a weapon like that.

Screening every gun buyer also needs to happen. After the initial background check, the FBI takes three business days to either approve or deny a gun purchase. If someone cannot wait that long to purchase a gun, they should not get one. Background checks are in place to prevent homicides, suicides and mass shootings, but many places do not require them. According to a study from Everytown For Gun Safety, a non-profit organization for gun control, 29 U.S. states do not require a background check. There are 29 states where someone could buy a gun and murder a bunch of innocent children and teachers on the same day. 

Parents should not have to worry about the safety of their children and whether they are coming home alive or not. Children should not have to worry about the same thing. Children should not have to carry around bullet-proof shields or vials of fake blood. There should be no need for a plan of action if a shooter were to enter their school. Frankly, it is sad that this is the world we live in. I should not have to worry about my life while going to get an education. Guns do not stop guns. Bullets do not stop bullets. The only things that will protect us are gun control laws or the bodies of the victims. Which will our generation choose? It is up to us. We are the future, and we are the ones who can change things.

Listen to Kickin’ It with the Krier’s podcast episode about gun violence in schools on Spotify for more information!

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About the Contributor
Sophie Thill
Sophie Thill, Editor-in-Chief of Web
Name: Sophie Thill   Position: Editor-in-Chief of Web   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: I love anything that has to do with performing. When I’m not in the lab or behind a computer writing, I can be found playing piano, singing, or acting. I also love to hang out with my friends and I love to go thrifting!   My favorite…   Movie: Titanic Show: Friends Animal: Dog (specifically pitbulls or Italian greyhounds) Hobby: Acting and singing Book: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank Food: Ice Cream Song: “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts Band / Artist: ABBA