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“It is clear to me that our country cannot afford to overlook this pressing issue any longer,” writes VOX ATL teen staff writer Asia Rodney-Collins. “We can only combat the tragedy of school shootings by taking proactive measures toward bettering school safety nationwide.”

When Will We Learn? The Urgent Need for Proactive Measures Against School Shootings [OPINION]

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The nation was rocked by another instance of horrific gun violence when a deadly shooting occurred at The Covenant School’s campus, a Nashville private Presbyterian school, on March 27, 2023.

In the aftermath of the shooting at the hands of Audrey Hale, six lives were lost, three being 9-year olds. My condolences to their loved ones.

In the wake of yet another nauseating school shooting, we must collectively realize the urgent need for enhanced protections for students’ well-being within classroom walls. The frequency and impact of gun violence in schools have reached alarming levels and necessitate significant changes from policymakers. Education Week reports 51 school shootings in 2022 alone, the most in a year since 2018 — a clear indication that we are not doing enough to shield innocent lives from these preventable calamities. Enhancing school safety can be attained by imposing stricter regulations on gun control.

Among the security procedures are background checks for every purchase made regarding firearms, the eradication of loopholes which enable easy access to guns without thorough vetting processes, and enforcing provisions against assault weaponry. Mental health services and support should also be enforced as it proves to be an essential factor during numerous shooting incidents where violent perpetrators present signs of mental instability.

This terrorizing act underscored the unfortunate reality that students and educators remain vulnerable to such attacks. Our government continues to fail to protect its citizens.

The recent shooting in Nashville has left students everywhere feeling unsafe and apprehensive, experiencing the trauma of a life-threatening event. The reverberations of this tragic event have impacted countless others, with students across the nation suffering from the emotional toll it brings. Schools should be sanctuaries of education and growth, yet the fear of gun violence has shattered this perceived safety net. It is sickening that innocent children attending school must face daily trepidation and anxiety about personal safety. Why are little kids still learning basic arithmetic being made to fear for their lives?

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“The Nashville shooting was incredibly difficult to watch, especially the kids who were so young and not even truly into their lives ahead,” says Jennie Matos, 17, a student at the Lovett School. “But sadly, events like this are something we know all too well and honestly I’m a bit numb at this point.”

Many teenagers today have lost their sensitivity towards violence, which poses a significant risk. Violent media exposure, commonplace violence in video games, and constant coverage of school shootings in the news contribute to this desensitization.

An American Psychological Association study shows how being exposed to media violence can lead to desensitization and aggressive conduct amongst teens. In today’s society, where school shootings are happening more frequently than ever before, it’s essential that we address the issue of teenage desensitization towards such acts of violence.

Over-exposure via news outlets or social media can make kids immune towards such tragedies leading them to believe this is just something that happens at every other high school across America. It is important to take care of yourself in order to combat your own detachment from these events through regular communication with trusted adults about violence prevention techniques while limiting viewing time on graphic images pertaining to gun violence.

How many more horrific and violent tragedies will it take for our government to change something and enforce more stringent gun control laws? How many more innocent lives are going to be lost?

“I think that in our society now, it’s all about power and those in power right now are {people}who love their guns because it’s their constitutional right,” says Bailey Mines, 15, who attends Academe of the Oaks. “However, this may be crazy cliche but they’re always worried about the wrong thing. Florida banned drag shows or whatnot, but people still can freely carry guns? They’re twisted about what’s truly harmful.”

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A recent article by The New York Times has cast a spotlight on the lackluster approach of the Republican Party towards mitigating gun violence. Politicians often resort to offering their condolences without backing them up with effective policy changes or measures aimed at addressing underlying causes leading to such incidents. Sadly, we cannot sweep away what continues affecting society through just thoughts and wishes by any politician or individual instead of evidence-based interventions focusing on comprehensive reform across various segments of society – including legislation, education about responsible firearm use, sharing resources among law enforcement agencies attending violent crime scenes and awareness campaigns targeting those vulnerable communities. In the midst of continuous tragedies caused by gun violence, politicians must set aside their political agenda and focus on the safety of the public. It is high time for them to actively look for real solutions that could address this pressing issue. Prioritizing just politics over lives at stake fails to show any leadership quality.

And to our elected officials, in the words of Senator Christopher Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, “Why seek leadership if you aren’t willing to lead?”

It is clear to me that our country cannot afford to overlook this pressing issue any longer; we can only combat the tragedy of school shootings by taking proactive measures toward bettering school safety nationwide. Honoring those affected means advocating tirelessly towards policy creating safer atmospheres within all schools across America, once and for all.

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