The effects of shootings on students’ psyches


Saslaya Baca

Chairs stacked in front of a classroom door as to mimic preparations during a lockdown. “One second I will be taking notes, and the next, praying that I might see my family again.”-Maya Salazar

Valerie Torres, News Editor

The rise of school shootings has given today’s students an anxiety that previous generations have never felt before. This fear and anxiety becomes even more severe when constant shooter drills are damaging the psyches of the students as well. The debilitating anxiety some students may go through affects their school life as well as life in general as they may not know if this is the end for them.

When the alarm went off during sixth period for the first time, I realized that this was exactly how it would happen.”

— Mya Salazar

Don Lugo Advanced Theater student, Mya Salazar expresses how seeing the shootings have affected her school life causing her to worry about sitting near the door and even prompting her to avoid using the restroom at school. She claims that “I have become more cautious about where I am, and where I can run or hide if something happens.” Although she hasn’t personally experienced a shooting, her aunt was in Las Vegas at the time during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2017; leading Mya’s grandparents to warn her of public crowded events. “I was raised to not worry about the ‘what if’ but when it comes down to it, I almost always turn down invitations to public events out of fear I won’t come home,” Mya explained.

Another Don Lugo student, Josephine Ramos, shares the same new found anxieties,”The recent shootings around the US have affected me in a way where I no longer feel comfortable to walk to school, attend school, go to a movie theater, malls, and even grocery stores.” She discloses that although her anxiety is not debilitating or stopping her from going to school, it instead causes her to worry for her safety the more shootings occur. When asked her opinion on the lockdown drills, she agrees that the drills are made to prepare and protect students for the worst case scenario, but still she worries since the shooter possibly knows the drill protocol.

I never practiced the lockdown drill till the 6th grade, even practicing it was scary and new to me, it shocked me that a school with only little kids had a drill like this.”

— Josephine Ramos

In support of lockdown drills, Jaclyn Schildkraut in an article by WebMD asserts that,”It’s really important to have lockdown drills, because you’re building muscle memory. When a shooting happens, your mind goes blank, and fight-or-flight kicks in. If you don’t have the right tools, you’re basically a chicken with its head cut off.” Student Marco Lopez agrees that the drills are good practice, but admits that some teachers do not follow through fully with drill precautions. Marco expresses that he feels safe due to Don Lugo not having many lockdowns and his school life being mostly unaffected.

Anxiety seems to be taking it’s toll on some students, but it is important to not let it become debilitating.┬áIt’s important for students to know that it is okay to be open and tell adults or school staff members when you have concerns and fears about safety on campus or your own personal safety. The Don Lugo staff is always working hard to ensure the safety of all students and preparing them in case of a serious disaster.