The bomb threats that plagued Legacy High School last week keep the focus on school safety. A potential bomb poses a different danger than a shooter. A bomb must be found, a shooter must be stopped. The potential of a bomb or shooter both result in lingering fear.
Both situations place students and others at risk. Evacuating a large number of students, teachers and administrators could result in someone taking a fall or suffering trauma. The evacuation is necessary and schools hold drills to prepare everyone to leave in an orderly manner. Still, whoever made the calls last week put a lot of people in a bad situation. It also required law enforcement to spend a lot of time searching the building and protecting the evacuees. There’s not much comfort in the fact the calls may have come from overseas.
It’s encouraging that some calls may have come from overseas only in the sense the hoax wasn’t done locally. The apparent copycat calls that came later are disappointing.
The March for Our Lives event on March 24 drew thousands across the country. Bismarck’s event had about 150 attendees and Fargo attracted around 300. The rallies were peaceful, but forceful, with an emphasis on preventing gun violence. The student speakers vowed to take their cause to the ballot box when they reach voting age. They also plan to keep pressuring political leaders with continued walkouts, marches and other events.
It’s apparent too many students, in elementary school and up, are afraid of being attacked at school. The Parkland, Fla., school was considered safe in an affluent community. The Valentine’s Day attack showed any school could be a target.
The show of youthful activism since the shooting has been an intriguing turn of events. Can they keep the movement alive and, if so, can they impact the upcoming elections? The anti-Vietnam war protests lasted a long time as the conflict showed few signs of ending.
Now, American students are on the march after being attacked numerous times over the last two decades. They no longer feel safe going to school and they want that to change.
Some adults dismiss the students' concerns, believing they may be politically motivated and influenced by the anti-gun lobby. While that may be the case for some, it is unfair to those whose concerns are genuine.
We can make our schools safer, but we’ll never be able to guarantee complete safety. The world has become too expert at destruction. That doesn’t mean students have to live in fear. As noted, this nation can make its schools safer. It will require compromise and money, but it can be done. We can create an environment where students feel secure and protected.
During the Cold War, schools conducted drills in case of a nuclear attack. It was an unseen threat and most students went about their daily lives without a fear of an attack.
The bomb threats at Legacy had to be treated as real, though many students may not have taken them seriously. Hopefully, when they return to school after the Easter break they can do so without fear. Security has been increased for the school, so that should ease the concern of parents, students and staff.
We can’t raise a generation that lives in fear. To the credit of the Parkland students and other students across the nation, they realize this and are demanding action.
Will the nation listen to them and take action? The Tribune Editorial Board thinks that time has come.
In the aftermath of the shooting we offer this broad rallying point — that no matter what your beliefs are about guns and gun ownership, we should all agree that Nicholas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, should not have been able to legally possess his weapons. His history of violence and mental issues were well documented and known to authorities who failed to act. We fail our children and fail our nation if we fail to act on the Nicholas Cruzes of the world.