No More Thoughts and Prayers



Edison High School

Twenty-one dead, in a small school in Texas. Young students and teachers who lost their lives during a normal school day. They will never go to middle school, they will never apply for college, and they will never walk at graduation.

So what? you think. This happened in Texas, right? Their guns, their problems. It doesn’t affect you, right? You see school shootings on the news all the time, and you feel far removed from the tragic effects on other schools. 

But what if it was your school? What if this happened in your first-period class, in your little brother’s elementary school, in the charter school where your aunt teaches? Would you send your thoughts and prayers then?

The Uvalde Elementary School Shooting is just another example of America’s poor laws on gun control and lack of available, accessible mental health resources. Had the student not been able to purchase a gun so young, would he have shot up the school? If he had adequate therapy or medication, would he have shot up the school? 

Sadly, we can not change the past now, and so we’ll never know.

Enough thoughts and prayers: we want change.

The survivors of the Uvalde shooting will never forget going to school on May 24, on what was supposed to be a normal Tuesday at the end of what many have deemed an already trying school year. But, they felt safe and their biggest worries were about schoolwork. Now, plagued by trauma, these children are expected to head back to school, to a public education system that has yet to give them security in their daily routines nor hope for their futures. 

Even though this shooting happened many miles away, we still can’t help having strong feelings about the tragedy. What could we do? How could we prevent a school shooting at our own school, or the school of someone we know? 

So, we started to look into responses and laws in our area regarding gun control. The Edison administration decided to increase police presence within the school. Although some people do feel safer in the presence of police, and the police might deter someone from bringing a gun to school, one extra armed officer can not solve America’s gun crisis. Is this really the solution you want in our schools? 

That’s not the solution we want.

Instead, we are asking—pleading—for protocols to ensure student safety if an active shooting ever occurs, and for improved mental health recognition. Help within schools, as well as limited gun access throughout the country. Enough thoughts and prayers: We want change.

Edison High recently established a mental health room, a space which allows stressed-out students the opportunity to recharge and feel calmer. Created and supervised by Emma Mohanty ‘22, the Mindfulness and Calming Center aims to provide a safe and peaceful environment to students.

As anxieties run high after returning from COVID-19, the fear of mass shootings only adds to our stress. If we can’t stop the school shootings at their source—guns—then we need to help the students who might ultimately access those guns. Schools should be a safe place for students to learn and grow: We should worry about our grade on our English essay, or the deadline for a project, not where we’d hide if there was a shooter in our gym class or during our lunch period. 

If you had to hide from a shooter, would you be calmed by “thoughts and prayers”? Would your fears disappear?

We’ve had enough.