How American schools balance safety and the Second Amendment


Photo by Millie Monahan

Posters are displayed to notify others on the ban on weapons in schools.

Millie Monahan, Staff Writer

Trigger warning: guns, violence, loss of life. Please read with caution, and reader discretion is advised.

Since 2018, there have been 96 school shootings in America. Four of those being since 2022 began. An event that is shocking news to those in other countries is a common occurrence here in the United States. Children go to school wondering if they are going to have to fight for their lives in a place that is supposed to be a safe haven to learn. The rise in violent acts against schools is largely due to the minimal gun control that the United States has, and it’s believed that these events could be solved with more restrictions set in place. 

“I go into school and see someone and think, what if they just pull a gun out,” freshman Zoe Ruden said. “These fears get worse over the year as gun violence escalates.”

While we certainly see schools falling victim to these types of crimes, people all over the world experience gun violence every day, no matter the setting. 

To date, Virginia Tech has been the largest school shooting in terms of casualties, with the next being Sandy Hook Elementary School. The list goes on, with hundreds more people who have lost their lives at the hands of a school shooter. 

Across the United States, the minimum age to purchase a gun is 18, but the right to possess a gun has no limit. This means that if a gun was purchased by a parent, then gifted to a minor, it would be legal for the minor to carry it around. But, in other states, when someone wants to purchase a gun, they must be 21 years of age and might need to go through a background check, estimated to take a mere 10 minutes. A potential issue lies in the fact that not all buyers need background checks, which can be the fault in the system that causes the weapon to land in the wrong hands. 

“I know it’s very political,” school counselor Melissa Ansbacher said. “ [But] minors should not have access to lethal means. We see situations in which desperate times will cause people to do something permanent, and if they have access to lethal means, it changes the story.” 

Though most can agree with the statement that gun control is a necessity in preserving the safety of students, there are many people who are not so quick to have their second amendment rights controlled. 

America needs to make the schools safer.

— Eisenberg

As stated in the Bill of Rights, a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. While many own guns simply for protection from the terrors of the world, others seek possession of lethal means with harmful intentions. Most of the time, in terms of school violence, the person gets their weapon from home, with the weapon often belonging to their guardians.

While Wakefield High School practices two lockdown drills per year, many feel as if this is not adequate practice for a real scenario.

“I feel as if most students do not take the drills seriously enough and they are not practiced often,” Student Body President, Brooke Eisenberg said. “We should practice the drills more often.” 

These drills often consist of the entire building going under lockdown while administrators check every room to make sure procedures are being followed. Kids and individual teachers often huddle in corners with the lights shut off, though some schools have kids quickly assemble a door barrier made of desks to make the room harder to enter. 

American schools practice these drills to prepare students for violent scenarios. 

On December 19, 2019, the Wakefield schools went into lockdown due to reported shots being fired near the campus around 10:30 am. After nearly two hours of lockdown and deep police investigation, it was determined that there was no threat to the community, with the original, false claim being at the hands of some students. Though relieved, the school was on edge for the rest of the day, with most of the students going home after the lockdown was lifted. This is just one of many shooting threats that schools get every year. 

Due to the traumatic impact that threats and events have on people of all ages, support groups have opened up to those struggling with anxiety under these topics, and for those who want to fight for a change. A notable group is called Brady United, dedicated to offering support for those impacted, and fighting for change to keep people safe. 

The battle against gun control has been fought for years, and while many of the laws that people propose would not diminish people’s Second Amendment Rights, citizens want to keep their freedom with their weapons. 

“I feel as if America needs to take security in schools up a notch,” Eisenberg said. “You never know which school or when will have a serious threat, and America needs to make the schools safer.”

Here are more links to multiple other organizations for those struggling.