By Charlie Glazier
On February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Nikolas Cruz entered the school with a firearm and killed 17 individuals. After this event, many questions and worries have arisen from parents and students themselves on the safety of their loved ones and themselves during the school day.
Things like teachers carrying firearms and increasing school security have been hot topics of conversation after this tragic event.
A correlation has been found in mental health and in school violence. When Rachel Montgomery, a Junior at Glenelg High School, was asked about the importance of improving the awareness of bettering mental health, she said “ As a whole country I think there should be more conversations about it especially after the tragedy in Florida.” There are multiple precautions schools could be taking to spread awareness and support students who are going through or have gone through mental health issues.
There are many ways to better the spread of awareness and improve mental health as a whole in schools. One way to do this would be decreasing class sizes.This way teachers would be able to interact with students more one and one. Teachers would be able to detect a change in students behavior faster this way. A more one-on-one approach would allow for the teachers to interact with their students and determine their current state of mind better than in a large class with many students to handle.
Another way to better mental health awareness is increasing the number of guidance counselors and having mandatory meetings with them. By increasing the number of guidance counselors, more students will be able to get in more personal sessions. As well as the mandatory talks, it will create a more trusting bond with students to the counselor, making students feel comfortable telling them whether someone they know or themselves is having an issue. When Olivia Browne, a Junior at Glenelg High School, was asked whether mental health is discussed enough in the classroom, she replied “No, we have barely discussed it in class and not enough stress is put on the importance of spreading awareness.” Creating a better curriculum that would cover the topic of mental health and educating students on how to handle others going through things like suicidal tendencies, depression, anxiety and other disorders would benefit awareness and support overall.
All students should feel safe in their learning environment. Mental health is a growing issue that people tend to shy away from when discussing the correlation between student violence and psychological disorders. In order to keep students safe, conversations need to be held on what needs to happen in schools to change the current threat.