Image: Lorie Shaull
The Digital Journalism class of Dominican worked together to bring you snapshots of information about the Florida High School shooting tragedy that has created a national movement among young people.
Posted on March 1, 2018
Tragedy Sparks Student Movement
By Alison Erves
On February 14th, 2018, a mass shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people died and 14 others were hospitalized. The victims, including students and staff members, are listed in this CNN report. The shooter was 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz, who has since been arrested and has confessed to 17 counts of premeditated murder, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.
The shooting has resulted in a nationwide response to end gun violence once and for all. Survivors of the shooting did not waste any time to pressure this ongoing debate over gun control laws. Three buses containing 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School travelled to Tallahassee, Florida to push for gun reform, NBC reported. The students hosted a huge rally outside of their capital and urged their legislators to hear them and to take action.
The push for gun reform has also surfaced in Bay Area schools. Students i from Santa Rosa to Mountain View in over a dozen schools have organized walk-outs at their campuses to protest for stricter gun laws in response to the Florida shooting. Spearheaded by the youth branch of the Women’s March, these walkouts have been organized for Bay Area schools to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting and are a statement to the government that the time to stand idly by and let these tragedies continue is over. A statement released by the group said that they are urging the government to take more responsible action and to, “Do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.” The walkouts will take place on March 14th, 2018 at 10am, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The students will be wearing orange. Other events we will be seeing in the coming weeks are leading up to the The March for Our Lives, a huge march to the nation’s capitol on March 24th, according to Mercury News.
Here at Dominican University of California, students will participate in an organized a walk out to take place on March 14th. The ASDU will be participating in the #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes on March 14, 2018 at 10am. Upon walking out of class/work, ASDU ask that you gather at Caleruega Plaza. This is just one of many student led events to expect and schools in the area have full support from Bay Area officials. Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, “Another moment of silence won’t suffice. Congress must act to address gun violence,” CBS reported. A spark has been ignited in schools across the nation and the debate on gun reform has only just begun. If you have any questions/concerns regarding these events or campus safety at Dominican, feel free to email your ASDU Representatives at ASDUemail@students.dominican.edu
Heart-broken Testimony of the Parkland Shooting
By Roxane Breard
On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, near Miami. Social media was full of testimony and fearful messages from the students under siege. Now,relatives and friends of students who lost their lives are speaking out. They are making sure that seventeen souls who died will never been forgotten.
Among those who died was Alyssa Alhadeff, who was 14 years old. According to CNN, Alyssa’s mother, Lori Alhadeff, said that when she dropped her daughter off at school this day, she said “I love you.” When she heard about the shooting, she ran to school, and said "I knew at that point she was gone. I felt it in my heart."
Scott Beigel, a geography teacher who was 35 years old, lost his life to save the lives of his students. One of his students said “Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for my fellow students in the classroom." She added "I am alive today because of him."
Another hero who gave his life was Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach. He threw himself in front of students to protect them from oncoming bullets and was killed. "He died the same way he lived -- he put himself second," said the football program spokeswoman Denis Lehtio. "He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero."
Some people died as heroes, others lost young lives that they full of opportunities and great hope. This shooting is the 18th since January 1st in the U.S. The question remains the same: “When is that going to end?
Social Media Coverage
by Kevin Del Rosario
The Parkland, Florida, school mass shooting sparked many social media outbursts from survivors of the incident, celebrities, politicians and even our President. During the actual incident, many of the students began documenting what was happening through social media outlets such as Twitter and Snapchat.
Videos have gone viral all over Twitter depicting students in classrooms hiding under desks with gunshots in the background, or even dead bodies of students being carried out by police. This incident has caused many outraged citizens to urge for stricter gun control laws.
Many right wing politicians and celebrities are siding with the NRA and are arguing that the gun is not responsible for the shooting, but rather the responsibility lies with the person doing the shooting. However, many people directly affected by the shooting oppose this position. For example, Fox News political commentator Tomi Lahren tweeted “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn't about a gun it's about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting.” Hours later, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who witnessed the shooting Tweeted Lahren saying “I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.”
As more and more events occur from the shooting such as students protesting or speaking out against politicians, more people are using this for material to Tweet or post about in either a serious or comical manner.
Teachers with Guns?
by Theresa Arocena
On February 21, President Donald Trump had a listening session with the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, school shootings. He proposed training and allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, claiming, “If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”
Politico reported that NRA chief Wayne LaPierre expressed support for this measure, “To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun," claiming that "gun-free zones," need to be removed and that they created "wide-open targets" for shooters. This reflects Trump’s statements on Twitter, "A 'gun free' school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!"
However, the New York Times reports that Joel Myrick, an assistant high school principal who could be a “poster child” for Trump’s proposal, disagrees. Myrick is praised for loading his Colt .45 pistol during a Mississippi school shooting in 1997 and then chasing and detaining the suspect at gunpoint. The former assistant principal said, “Teachers have to teach, and that’s what they should be doing. It doesn’t matter what a pistolero you are, or think you are. You don’t need to be in school in charge of protecting children.”
Amy Davidson Sorkin at the New Yorker criticized people like Charlotte Allen at the National Review who said, “Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.” Sorkin details how she, the mother of a twelve-year-old who could fall under that description, resents the idea of the safety of students being his burden because “A grown congressman isn’t brave enough to throw an N.R.A. lobbyist out of his office.”
Al Jazeerah reports that Marco Rubio, a Florida senator who has supported the NRA (who gave him over $1 million in campaign contributions) and a Trump supporter in the past, has also found discomfort in the idea of arming teachers. "The notion that my kids are going to school with teachers that are armed with a weapon is not something that, quite frankly, I'm comfortable with.”
Teachers themselves have taken to Twitter to argue this proposal. Many are upset that arming them is what Trump wants to fund instead of making better gun control laws and funding schools. Others are upset at the lack of input being given by actual teachers on the issue.
Incidents of School Shootings and Threats in Hawaiʻi
By Kara Dung
Being from Hawaiʻi, we hear on the news about the rest of the country and how many mass shooting school shooting that have been happening within the past few years. Since Hawaiʻi is so small there is never really anything of this caliber that happens, but there have been incident with threats and of students bringing firearms to school.
Hawaii News Now reported that in 2011 in Pearl City on the island of Oʻahu at Highlands Intermediate School a 14 year old boy was expelled for bringing a Glock-45 caliber to school. The TV news program reported that the boy told his father that he was going to show it to some of his friends, then as one of his friends pushed it away the gun was discharged. The bullet hit then ricocheted off and hit another student in the back. The father apologized for his son, and the student was released to his family after being charged for attempted murder.
This semi-automatic pistol used by the young man, along with another firearm, was said to have been missing prior to this incident, but was never reported to have been stolen, and neither guns were apparently locked securely.
A letter was sent home to the parents about this incident because many parents were worried about why the campus did not go into lockdown. This happened before school was in session. The Hawaiʻi Department Of Education (DOE) sent out a statement suggesting that this was a learning opportunity for everyone. DOE stated that it will see reviews at all schools, meaning ramping up school safety drill in partnership with Honolulu Police Department or HPD that will be held at High Schools.
More recently on February 21, 2018 on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi a 17 year old was taken into custody threatening to “shoot up local schools” on a social media post according to khon2 News. There was no specific school referenced in the post, but he was said to be connected with Konawaena (Co-nah-va-neh) High School.
The police were called to Pahoa (Pa-ho-ah) High and Intermediate School and Keaau (Ke-ah-ow) High School because of the case of two 16 year old girls having a conversation on Instagram that referenced bringing a firearm to school in January. It was brought to the school's attention on February 20, 2018 the police opened a harassment case that was directed to family court.
Although there were no active shooter cases at any of the schools, these cases have been taken more seriously since of the event in Florida. It seems as if there might be a spike in threats after a school shooting, such as the one in Florida last week and even though these were not real threats people should not hesitate to report such threats to the police.
What To Do Here at Dominican If A Shooter Comes?
By Danielle Arena and Cheyenne Sykes
Dominican Beat reporters asked Dominican University Security and the office of the Associate Dean of Students about the Dominican University of California “Shooter Policy,” and were told that no one was able to speak on the topic at the moment. There will be an upcoming presentation on Dominican’s safety protocols and how to handle emergency situations. Dean of Students Paul Raccanello will be giving this presentation after Spring Break.
While Dominican was unable to comment on their security protocols, other colleges have posted theirs on their website. San Jose State University (SJSU) has their own police department located on campus. Their website contains: prevention protocols, preparedness protocols, phone numbers for reporting, and specific policies for different forms of safety issues. The “Shooter” training they give their students is called Run, Hide, and Defend. According to their website, thee RUN, HIDE, DEFEND training in an effort to better prepare our campus. They offer the presentations in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish, and anyone can download and watch it here.
Digital Journalism Professor Stephenie Hendricks reports that her daughter, a graduate student at San Jose State University, was told by the campus security in her classes that students who are veterans who have seen active duty are asked to volunteer to take “leadership roles” if a shooter engages on campus.
“Since an active shooter situation is often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation,” explains the SJSU security website. This includes staying calm and absolutely quiet, finding a place to hide that can be locked where a shooter can not see inside, and, if possible, running away quietly when shots are first heard.
Students Walk Out
by Roxane Breard
Exactly one month after this last shooting in Parkland school, Florida, the Wednesday 14, March, high school and university students will pay an official tribute to the slain Parkland students that will occur nationwide. A National Walk Out for 17 minutes will happen to dedicate one minute to each of the victims.
Here at Dominican University of California, the Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU) students will participate to this tribute. At 10am, everybody is asking to go out of class and to meet at Caleruega plaza in solidarity with students across the nation. For more information: ASDUemail@students.dominican.edu. At 4 pm the University will have a campus safety briefing at Guzman Hall.