Overheard in the Halls of GNN: Murmurs of a Potential School Shooting Threat

Sabrina Messite, Columnist

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On Thursday afternoon, two kids in my math class walked in and assuredly announced to the class, “We are having a shooting on March 5th!” As everyone started to freak out, the two kids were pressed for more information to see if this was some kind of a messed up joke. Instead they explained that a student in their previous class had shown their teacher a post that said “Get Ready for March 5th”. Their teacher then informed Mr. Holtzman in the case that this was some type of threat. Despite the thick ambiguity of the situation, rumors soon started to spread like wildfire about the person behind the post, that the picture showed a gun (it didn’t), and that it was a picture of our school (it wasn’t).

So many people were positive that the message said “watch out,” even though they had never actually seen the post themselves. Moreover, everyone debated over what school the kid attended and if he really did have assault rifles in his basement, like some people were claiming. Consequently, the police were called to investigate due to the fear-imposed gravity of the situation, and it was determined that there was no threat to the students nor the school.  Given the recent tragedy in Florida, the situation felt very close to home for many North High students because multiple North High School students have friends and family connected to Stoneman Douglas High School, making a vague threat feel very real.

Obviously, it’s hard not to be paranoid and think of the worst, given the climate we live in today where school shootings have become more and more common. It is sad, though, that nowadays, an innocent post talking about the upcoming sports season is immediately misconstrued into such a terrifying message (as this was what the post was actually about). It was good that a student felt they could report something that might possibly be an indicator of danger to our school, and it is also good that this threat was taken seriously. However, it is upsetting to think about what such a strong accusation could do to an innocent kid who had no intention of causing any commotion. I have to admit, I was also really scared when I heard about the alleged threat and felt uneasy the rest of the school day. I honestly wasn’t sure what to believe. It’s so easy to let your imagination run wild and think the worst as people are adding more and more “details” about the post.

Fear spread again on the night of March 4th when rumors about another threat to the school posted on Snapchat circulated and led to having the police investigating our school safety twice in one week. Polls flooded people’s finstas asking if their followers were going to school the next day. Although administration and the Nassau County Police Department assured us there was no threat, almost 400 people were absent from school on Monday as many people thought it wasn’t worth taking any chances. I didn’t go to school on March 5th because I think it’s better to be safe than sorry and I don’t think having perfect attendance is worth dying over (not that I’ve EVER had perfect attendance). Even though it was unlikely that something would really happen, is it really worth not missing just one day of APUSH at the risk of getting shot in school?

Even though these threats both ended up being false alarms, it is scary how possible it is for something so tragic to really happen in our school and feeling helpless because we won’t be able to stop it. We should channel that fear into taking action to make it harder for anyone to get into our school with a gun if they actually planned on doing something so horrible. Instead of having detectors to see if we’re stealing books from the library, perhaps we should have actual metal detectors to prevent this from happening. Although we at North typically think of schools that have police officers outside and metal detectors as “shady” when we’re forced to take an SAT in inner-city Queens or Bronx because we signed up too late, it’s not so “shady” to feel safe in school. Those so called “bad neighborhoods” are better prepared than we are, as our Great Neck bubble is not untouchable, as seen in the similar community of Parkland.    

Administration has already taken steps in the right direction to heighten security, and our student body has united to protest with the school-wide walk out that occurred on March 14th. But no matter what we do, we can never be sure that this won’t happen to us, especially if guns continue to be put into the wrong hands.