The Stoneman Douglas Shooting Shook America and North Augusta High School

April 10, 2018


On February 14, 2018 Nikolas Cruz entered the doors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a high school located in Parkland, Florida, with an AR-15-Style rifle in hand. Nobody stopped him, not even the resource officer. He made it in easily and blended in well with the students considering he used to be one there until he was expelled for disciplinary issues.

According to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School newspaper, The Eagle Eye, the students already had a fire drill earlier that morning, MSD students were confused by the second fire alarm and walked out of their respective buildings. However, none of them expected the alarm was triggered by the smoke in the 1200 building because of the gunshots. The 3,300 students at MSD hid in closets, the corner of classrooms and behind desks to fend for their lives, uncertain of if they would come out of school unharmed. Students and teachers stayed quiet, and followed protocols they had practiced for months, texting their families and watched local news for information. Cruz then proceeded to enter classrooms and shot three staff members and fourteen students. The victims of this tragedy are freshman Alyssa Alhadeff, geography teacher Scott Beigel, freshman Martin Duque Anguiano, senior Nicholas Dworet, Coach Aaron Feis, freshman Jaime Guttenberg, Coach Chris Hixon, freshman Cara Loughran, freshman Gina Montalto, senior Joaquin Oliver, senior Carmen Schentrup, freshman Alaina Petty, senior Meadow Pollack, junior Helena Ramsay, freshman Alex Schachter, freshman Peter Wang and freshman Luke Hoyer.

Hearing about this in a small town in South Carolina puts a very important question into the minds of North Augusta High School students; “Are we Safe?”, as we continue to ponder on that and repeat yes over and over to convince ourselves we are, another question emerges, “ If it can happen to them, it can happen to us too, right?”

Sarah Wilson, a North Augusta High School Senior, said “Now I️ don’t, [feel safe] especially since we have so many entrances and exits, and I️ know many students that have guns in their homes. I’ve sat in class before and thought of my escape plan and my hiding spot if that were to ever happen.” Senior, Sam Bryant also worries about safety.

Despite recent tragedy, resource officers and administrators still believe that our school is safe. Full time resource officer, Jason Pearce, said, “What we’re doing to make the school safer is that they’ve assigned a full-time resource officer and now they’ve hired another, so we’ve actually doubled the coverage that is here.” He also added, ” I also like to stay mobile, and just be visual. If I see something that I don’t like I’ll often ask why a kid is acting like this, or what’s going on. The exterior doors are now all locked too, so to get in both students and intruders are going to have to make it through a locked door or go to the front office. ” Resource officer Pearce also tells that the city was dedicated enough to give funds for a full-time resource officer when North Augusta Police department didn’t have the funds.

The question of whether our school is safe due to the easy access of firearms and many entrances at North Augusta High School, also springs the topic of gun control. Jaelyn Locklear, a junior, believes that our gun laws should be a little stricter, especially when it comes to buying guns. But, Locklear also feel that guns aren’t the reason that tragedies like school shootings happen, people kill people, guns don’t. Joyner Settles believes that guns kill people, Settles says “guns laws need to be much stricter, It’s far too easy to access a gun. For example, why did Nikolas Cruz even have a AR15, he’s 19 and not even in the military and it’s been proven that he was “mentally insane” by neighbors and classmates. But, with high power guns like what he had, it is so easy to kill a whole room of people if you aren’t being stopped.”

After the shooting in Parkland a walkout was held on March 14th at 10:00 am for 17 minutes. What was the point of this walkout? Some may ask. According to EMPOWER, the group that organized the walkout,

“The nationwide protest is both a memorial and protest action. Students and teachers across the United States will walk out of their schools and universities to honor the lives of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas and press lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws”

Some thought this was productive, others didn’t. Christian Cato said “Most people took advantage of this opportunity just to get out of class, them actually walking out didn’t do much of anything. It may have even affected the teachers being angry at us because we skipped class and walked out” he said. Other students such as Mary Strauss thought it was productive. “I think it’s a step in the right direction, it was a moment for students across America to mourn for the seventeen lives lost at MSD and it was a call for change. I thought that it was great to see so many students be politically active in our community. I participated out of respect and remorse I felt for those students at MSD. I just kept thinking that if it was my school and my friends, I would do anything to make sure it never happens again.”

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