Kaylee Bahr is a high school senior in Wisconsin.
Being a student in America always brings worries to the mind, the main one being whether or not today will be the last day I step through the doors of my school.
Like many American students, I have taken part in active shooter drills, been in lockdowns, and worried for the safety of myself and the people around me. In my mind, it is not a matter of if, but when the shooting will happen. It might not be when I am in school, but what about my fellow students? What about my little sister who starts high school this fall? What about my cousin who just started kindergarten this year?
I no longer want to decide whether the threat is viable or not before packing my lunch. I don’t want to feel desensitized as I walk into my school. But most of all, I don’t want to think about the possibility that today might be my last “good morning” to Mom.
Before I began writing this piece, I asked my mother about her experiences with gun violence in school. She immediately thought of my little sister and me, and the fear that she’s experienced as a result of our close encounters with gun violence. As she described her feelings of dread watching us get so numb to violence, she recalled a moment we both shared, one that up until this point I had forgotten about.
It was my first time going into lockdown. My mom said to me: “I remember you calling me from the bathroom at school and saying that there was a shooting threat written on the wall and that you were going into lockdown. I was so panicked and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do as your mom in that situation. I remember asking you what I should do! You were so chill and kind of like, ‘If it happens, it happens.’”
Thankfully, the threat was false and a shooting did not occur. However, when I reflect, I’m shocked at how nonchalant I was about the threat to my life. I’d never been in that situation before, but somehow I was accustomed to it. That day felt very close to being my final “good morning.
We need to work together and end gun violence now. Schools should be places of learning and growth, not targets.