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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Facing increasing rates of gun violence, UA parents share their opinions

Sydney Richardson
Jerie Shcultz, mother of two university students, embraces her son Tim after his day at school. TEXT SYDNEY FOR THE REST OF THE CUTLINE I’M JUST WAITING FOR HER RESPONSE ON HOW SHE FEELS ABOUT SHOOTINGS AT SCHOOL xoxo

In light of the ever-increasing frequency of school shootings, parents of UA students share their opinions on university procedure, past school shootings and their reactions to the possibility of a shooter on the UA campus. 

Nell McDonald, the aunt of journalism junior Michael Evan, lived close to Columbine during the 1999 school shootings. McDonald discussed her opinion on safety for college students and her personal experience with school shootings.

At the time, McDonald’s two children, who she declined to name, were in a middle school and high school near the Columbine campus.

She said the middle school went on lockdown once word spread about the shooting. Once on lockdown, the school would not release children until administration was sure that the area was safe—causing parents to panic.

“I was calling a thousand times because I just wanted to hear my child’s voice,” McDonald said. “I was so scared, and I wasn’t able to pick up my kid.”

McDonald said her eldest child in high school was released and able to come home because the school was farther away from the crime scene. To her, Columbine was an eye opener and has taught her to not live in fear, but rather in trust.

She said a situation like this can happen anywhere and at any time. She views it as a learning experience, but added that people cannot be afraid to live their lives. After the Columbine massacre, McDonald said she educated her children on what to do if the situation were to ever happen in their school. She said she wanted them to know what to do and who to call.

“Communication is first. Parents are going to call you just to hear your voice and make sure you’re OK,” McDonald said. “My first response would be to get a hold of Michael, and once I know he’s OK, I would hope the school closed down for a day or two and maybe seek counseling for students who need extra help recovering from that scary situation.”

According to UA Safety Information and Procedures, the university’s response to an active shooter on campus is to quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect a person’s life. Students, employees and visitors should follow the directions of instructors, supervisors and administrators during an active shooter situation.

Students and faculty are told to evacuate, hide or take action. The University of Arizona Police Department suggests calling 911 only after it is safe to do so, and to state the location of the active shooter, the number of shooters, a physical description of the shooter, the number or type of weapons possessed by the shooter and the number of potential victims at the incident scene.

Talia Stone, a public health sophomore, is the youngest and the first of her siblings to go away for college. Her father, Scott Stone, said it was a different experience for him and his wife. He thought it was challenging when she left for school, but the family got used to the change. Stone explained what his reaction would be if there were to ever be a school shooting at the UA.

Upon word of a shooting at the UA, Stone said his immediate reaction would be to jump in his car and pick up his daughter. He said he also believes that after such an event, the university should close down for a day or two to give students and faculty time to calm down and be less distracted on the matter.

“It should be a requirement for students on a larger scale to seek counseling if a shooting were to ever happen at the university,” Stone said. “It could give them a place to talk and be less frightened. It definitely makes me frustrated and scared at times that something like this could happen.”

According to Stone, if his daughter requested to come home for a few days, he would allow her to. However, he said he would not be the one to suggest it, as he is worried that it may lead to an increased fear of returning to school. Stone suggested an increase in security could not hurt the situation and would only make students, staff and parents feel safer.

Stone added that education around the event of a school shooting would benefit students.
“I don’t think the campus should become gated if something like this were to happen—it’s not necessary if there was an increase in security,” Stone said. “However, students should absolutely be more educated on how to react with an active shooter on campus.”

Follow Gabriella Vukelic on Twitter.

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