SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — In the wake of the mass shootings in Gilroy, Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas all in one week, the Franklin-McKinley School District took a few moments at its Student Leadership Conference Tuesday to address mounting fear and anxiety as the upcoming school year approaches.
“How many of you are feeling a little worried about coming back to school?” asked Principal Amber Andrade of Sylvandale Middle School. Half of the room raised their hands.READ MORE: West Contra Costa Unified School District Partners With Non-Profit Conscious Kitchen To Provide Kids Organic Meals
Jose Guardian-Hernandez, 12, said the news of back to back-to-back shootings has been “upsetting” and that focusing at school will be a challenge.
“I will be able to learn, but it’ll always be in the back of my head, what if something happens today?” said Guardian-Hernandez.
“What if it happens to us, like it’s getting closer to us every single time?” asked another student.
Principal Andrade admitted that these conversations were “tough.” However, Tuesday’s workshops were about acknowledging their emotions and channeling them into action.
“For a long time, those weren’t even things that we worried about in school and I’m sad as a principal that you have to worry about that,” said Andrade. “But remember, you are the most important part of that team.”READ MORE: Marin County Focuses on Restarting Schools at Teacher Vaccination 'Super Pods'
Andrade emphasized several tips that students can implement immediately:
- Close gates behind you
- Take shooter drills seriously
- Be aware of surroundings
- Report suspicious activity
The free “Remind” app has been gaining in popularity at campuses within the district because it allows students to directly text school administrators anonymously.
Back in March 2018, Andrade received a tip that a 12-year-old threatened to kill two other students and shoot up Sylvandale Middle School. Andrade received the tip by 10 p.m. and San Jose Police arrested the child within hours, charging the suspect with making felony criminal threats.
“We have really focused on telling kids that they play such an active role. Because it really was that one kid. And that kid wasn’t even sure they should report it that night,” said Andrade.
Superintendent Juan Cruz told the student leaders it’ll likely be up to their generation to enact change that will put a stop the mass shootings.MORE NEWS: Berkeley Officials To Consider Making VP Harris' Childhood Home A Landmark
“And making sure that it doesn’t become the norm. That really, we need to respond in a way that helps our children understand that we can change this,” said Cruz.