Fear at school, commitment to change: A Florida student on her new reality

Please use the SHARE buttons to forward this news

Originally a Facebook post, Sarah Jenkins, a 17-year-old student at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Fla., has allowed us to share her thoughts in the wake of Valentine’s Day’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

By Sarah Jenkins

You’ve read a million of these posts I’m sure, but please read this one.

It’s from me — a high school senior. It’s from me, a student in the state of Florida. It’s from me, a student who attends a school a mere 45 minutes from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Wednesday morning, an article was posted on a local news site urging parents to speak to their children about social media threats surrounding the horrific tragedy that occurred on Feb. 14 in Parkland.

Upon reading the article, I realized that within its last paragraph were the name of six schools that have had threats brought against them — and mine was one of them.

This simple threat — which was investigated and found to be unsubstantiated — changed the entire atmosphere of my school this morning (at least for my friends and me) and quite frankly, made me really scared.

I have never felt this way at school before. This morning, I raised my hand to ask the specific plan for my math class if we were to suddenly be thrust into a lockdown situation.

This morning, I jumped when someone passed by the room of my classes.

This morning, I watched my teacher reprimand the kid who answered the door to our class without first looking to see who it could be.

This morning, I ran to the bathroom because I didn’t want to be alone in the hallway.

For those of you who do not attend school, this is our new reality. No matter what you believe the cause to be, our schools are plagued with fear.

Now I sit here, in my house, watching a live broadcast of students crying out for change on the steps of my state capitol.

These students have suffered indescribable loss, not just of their friends and teachers, but also of their innocence.

Their innocence is something that cannot be regained, but I thank God that the loss of it is the catalyzing force in which we finally address the problems that are causing so many students to be afraid when they walk into school each morning.

I respect our founding fathers and I respect the Second Amendment, but I do not understand the need for assault rifles. I do not understand why my state decided that porn was more of a public health risk than the type of weapon that killed 17 students and teachers this time last week.

I cannot fathom how Florida lawmakers voted against even considering a ban on semi-automatic weapons while sitting in a room with students who, on Feb. 14, were crippled with fear because one of those weapons was being unloaded on their school campus.

And if you were to take the side that “mental health is the real issue,” I quote a brilliant survivor I just watched at the rally: “Mental illnesses are a problem all over the world, so why are there only school shootings in America?”

So to that I’ll say, we’ll fight. We won’t stop. We will not give up because something has got to change. And we WILL win.

If you do not agree with me, that’s fine, but you will not hear my or my friends’ or American students’ voices go silent.

I’m studying political science because I will be the change I wish to see in the world.

This is a new age in America, and things are going to change.

Sarah Jenkins, 17, is a senior at Suncoast High School, in the West Palm Beach, Fla., area. She is student impacted by recent school violence who is using her voice to make a change.

Be the first to comment on "Fear at school, commitment to change: A Florida student on her new reality"

Leave a comment