The fear and the pain that follows is very real | Guest Viewpoint

  • Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:50pm
  • Opinion

VOICES FROM THE FRONT LINE: Three student testimonials from Bainbridge High students recount the authors’ experiences of enduring several lockdowns, and call for increased campus security measures. Students at Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor high schools will join a nationwide youth campaign to raise awareness and prompt police change Wednesday, March 14.

Grace Bautista offers the third of three testimonials.

During one lunch period of my junior year at Bainbridge High School, a voice on the intercom told us there was an active shooter on campus and this was not a drill. We dodged into the nearest classrooms, sheltered in place, and eventually went into lockdown — I crouched in the corner of a dark classroom with a teacher I had barely ever spoken to, feeling utterly alone.

I remember being terrified. I remember curling into myself, making myself as small as possible, trying to merge into the wall behind me. I checked for news, I texted my parents and let them know what was happening, I texted my friends and made sure they were safe. I thought there was a chance, however small, that we might die. I thought that at any minute I was going to hear gunshots echo in the halls I had walked through hundreds of times, and later the survivors would emerge to see a place we no longer recognized.

The threat turned out to be a hoax, but the fear and pain that has accompanied me all the way into college remains very real. I count exits, I note the safest corners to hide in, I avoid large glass windows. I feel a surge of panic every time I see another school shooting on the news (which is, unfortunately, much too often)— because it so easily could have been me, my school, my community. Upended and uprooted and irrevocably changed forever. It could have been me going to the funerals of my friends and teachers instead of studying for midterms and making spring break plans. It could have been me coming home from school in a body bag.

To the students of Stoneman Douglas and anyone else who has survived a real mass shooting: I know my experience will never compare to yours. I know I will never truly comprehend the pain you went through that day, but I want you to know that students like me and countless others understand the fear of not knowing whether or not you will make it home alive. We pledge to support and fight for you endlessly in solidarity.

To the lawmakers and adults who have the power to prevent this: Please protect us. Please protect my friends who still go to BHS everyday. Please understand that our cry for action is not an attempt to impede on your rights and push a partisan agenda, but a desperate plea for our survival. Please don’t ignore it.

– Grace Bautista, Class of 2017

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