Living in fear does not make us safer

On Wednesday, Mar. 14, New Trier held its breath as news slowly trickled in about the gunman situation at Northwestern. Everybody knows somebody there. 9th period that day felt like the longest 40 minutes ever.

  Around 2:15 P.M., an unidentified man called the Evanston Police Department claiming that he had shot his girlfriend at Engelhart Hall graduate dorm. The entire Northwestern campus went into lockdown within minutes. The speed of the response was impressive.

But, it was soon revealed that the call had been a hoax and that there was no shooter on campus.

Now more than ever, students feel worried about school safety and frustrated by the slow response of lawmakers. This time in history will be remembered as tense and fearful. Gun violence will be remembered as a defining issue for Generation Z.

These past few weeks, discussions in advisery and in classes have equipped students to keep themselves safe in the event of the unthinkable. We appreciate the efforts that administrators have made. We have been especially impressed with implementation of new measures within the new building. For the most part, students have been made to feel safe in the school.

Our hope is that the student body is now knowledgeable of safety procedures, but also that they will not walk the halls in fear. It is necessary that students feel secure in their school. It is our hope that the discussions held in class will empower students, not make them feel paranoid.

Administrators, faculty members, and law enforcement officers have emphasized that the most important preventative safety measure is the feeling of connectedness among the student body. Nationwide, we have seen a growing number of particularly young white men who feel disconnected from their communities.

This has manifested not only in mass shootings, but also in the political culture and the opioid epidemic.

We are privileged to live in a community that is less affected by these issues. Our adviser system fosters connection between students and also ensures that at least one adult sees students every day for four years. As the PowerPoint about school safety shown in advisery made clear, this is a place where people want to open doors for each other. This is a community where students support one another.

New Trier is a very safe place. Not only because of our grandfathered doors with wired glass, but because of the opportunities this school provides students, and the community that is created as a result. We should not be living in fear of the headlines. We should not be afraid to come to school.

By no means should we stop caring about these issues. In fact, we must keep speaking our minds, writing to our representatives, and marching.

But, maybe it’s best that we don’t talk about these issues so much. To live in constant fear does not make us any safer.