Brea Jones

If the student in the desk next to you had a weapon on them, would you tell an adult?

Brea Jones, Multimedia Manager

Violence: a phenomenon in American high schools that is becoming as commonplace as physical education and chemistry. As of 2013, there have been at least 162 school shootings in America. Shootings on a school campus are devastating tragedies that could possibly be avoided if someone who had knowledge of the event beforehand told an adult. Those incidents don’t get stopped because no one saw the gunman until it is too late, students were too scared or feel like it is not serious enough to report. 

Junior Dillon Davis believes that if he personally knows the perpetrator he would hesitate. Davis comments, “I wouldn’t tell an adult if it was my best friend. I would just ask him why he had the weapon and then tell him to get to rid of it. If he didn’t get rid of it, then I would take his bag from him and give it to an adult.”

The Seminole Newspaper interviewed 10 students, and only two said they would tell an adult or school administration if they knew that their best friend had a weapon on campus. Most said that they would attempt to get the weapon away from their friend and nothing more.  When asked what would stop their friend from doing the same thing on a day that they weren’t there, the students didn’t have an answer.

A violent event that struck Seminole County Schools was the stabbing at Winter Springs. Possibly if someone saw the student with the weapon and told, the event could have been avoided.

Junior Jack McCloskey, a Winter Springs High School student, says, “I wouldn’t tell an adult if it was my friend because I don’t think they could do any real harm. But if it was a stranger, then I would tell because I wouldn’t know what was going through that stranger’s mind.”

Mrs. Jamila Howard, an English teacher at Seminole High School, took a survey in her class. Howard asked the question the Monday following the shooting scare on Nov. 13, 2015. She heard rumors that an attack was being planned to take place during the Seminole pep rally. The rumors caused her to pose the question, “If you saw that the person next to you had a gun in their backpack, would you tell?” She said that not a lot of people raised their hand.

When she saw the results of the poll, Howard stated that it was shocking and scary.

Howard says, “Today’s generation of kids follow the unwritten rule of not ‘snitching’. They said they would feel others would perceive them in a negative light if they were the ones who told. I asked them if it mattered if innocent lives were [in] direct danger, would they still maintain their silence. They answered with a resounding and alarming, ‘yes’.”

With internet posts and videos mocking school shootings, it is sometimes hard to see the seriousness in the crime. Whether the person is a complete stranger or your best friend, students should always inform an adult that there is a weapon on campus.

According to the Student County Public School Student Conduct and Discipline Code (pages 4 and 5), students are required to report hazardous situations and threats to do harm to an adult in authority. By complying with these rules, students are ultimately making the campus a safer place, for themselves and their fellow classmates.