by: Angelica Gutierrez
The anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was February 14th, and the Broward School District Board missed the opportunity to set an example of how to commemorate such an event. Schools were placed on code yellow on February 14th and 15th, so students couldn’t use the restroom during class time without a guard chaperone, and movement around the school was restricted. Parents were called a week ahead of the anniversary informed that students are not allowed to bring weapons of any type to schools.
The district, in cooperation with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, wanted to prevent any copycat school shootings from occurring, but their restrictive policies created a hostile and alienated environment in our educational institution. This is partly what leads to school shootings in the first place. What the school should be doing is allowing the students to partake in the dialogue about Marjory Stoneman Douglas. There should be extra school counselors and social workers at schools, not extra police officers. While the district encouraged schools to participate in a state-wide moment of silence in order to memorialize the tragedy, this still isn’t enough.
But at BA, some of our staff rose to this painful occasion. The school district could have taken pointers from Boyd H. Anderson’s Peer Counseling teacher, Ms. Lashondra Taylor. “As a way of commemorating and also grieving the tragedy, the peer counseling students will be continuing an initiative that we started last year…It’s called Parkland hearts. What we did is that students created hearts with heartfelt messages and messages of sympathy for the families and the victims, and then they put #ParklandHearts. We then posted our selfie with our hashtag on our social media accounts. This year we’re thinking of coming up with a hashtag that’s similar to it.” Ms. Taylor encouraged her own students to examine their feelings about the school shooting, and then share them with each other and the community at large. In contrast, what the school district is does with its code yellow mandates is send a message that they distrust the student body, and this just doesn’t help the strained communication between students and their administrators.