I was a 16-year-old student at Deer Valley High in the Bay Area in 2009 when an act of gun violence changed me forever. It was first period when my classmates and I heard the shots. Multiple, in quick succession. Moments later, texts started coming in that someone had a gun, but no lockdown had started. There was so much confusion. It wasn’t until the bell rang and we all made our way to second period that we got the lockdown announcement. I remember groups of girls crying, teachers quickly ushering kids into classrooms, and the rumors circulating via text and Facebook during chemistry. The news’ misinformation spread fear. There were knocks at the door, and my heart stopped each time. Fearful. Vermont, Red Lake, Columbine. Not DV. I desperately wanted out. After it was deemed safe to leave, we learned the truth. Someone started shooting at a group of kids. A classmate was hit multiple times. Thankfully, he survived.
I’ve had panic attacks in classrooms and public spaces with each new tragedy since. And in 2020, another shooting plagued Deer Valley and took a young life. When will change come? I’m tired. I’m fearful. I’m angry.