Dear School Committee

The recent mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School spawned a cult. So far, the killer (whose name I will omit from this article) has received over $800 dollars in donations, several love letters, and fan mail. This vomit-inducing information alone should be enough to prove to everyone in the country that that killer was not the last one of his kind. It serves as a chilling reminder of the fact that people like him still exist and still infect our school systems. It also highlights the problems with the inefficient system by which our school district is attempting to lower the risk of such violent students having their way. The idea that shootings can be prevented by approaching the introverted at lunch is simply unrealistic.

No tolerance policies for bullying also have not been successful. My brother, Eduardo Figueroa, had to endure an hour of TalkWorks™ presentations only to return to class and be mocked for his vaguely Latino-sounding name. On top of the fact that these kindness and anti-bullying policies do not work, their end goal is borderline immoral. They teach children that being kinder to one another through random acts such as hellos and high fives is the way that shootings are prevented. It puts the responsibility on the students who can fall victim to these massacres. This was the premise of the 17 high fives activity that was employed by Cole Middle School in exchange for the national school walkout. The type of person that would commit such a repugnant crime as the murder of 14 children and 3 adults in a high school would not be stopped because one of their victims begrudgingly sat next to them last week for mix it up at lunch. You cannot blame children for a murder they did not commit. They become both the victim and the aggressor. Disturbing the introverted doesn’t stop school shootings.

Accounts from the MSD kids show that the person that committed the massacre was well-known around school as the kid who would. What was implemented to prevent shootings failed to stop him. Kindness, high fives, mix it up at lunch, TalkWorks™ and greeting him with a hello would not have stopped him or saved anyone else in that school. What was implemented failed, and what may have succeeded was not provided.

It is not my job to provide an effective response to students like him, it is the job of the school committee to allocate funds to potentially successful programs. Training school counselors and hosting professional development days for teachers on ways to seek and prevent potentially violent students from finding their victims in the students of our town is what will work. I am grateful to have student resource officers in the schools, but they must be provided with everything they need to prevent school shootings before they happen. It is not my job, as a student, to come up with these solutions. But I will, as a student, make sure that the adults do everything in their power to prevent these murders. In the name of the dead, we should be protecting the living.

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