Awful Reality


April 4, 2023

Rajief James (RJ), Staff Writer

Schools are classified as government institutions, where the purpose is to hone, refine, and facilitate one’s skills. Communities view schools with open arms, both as an institution of learning, and a place where children can refine social skills and traits of adaptability. In retrospect, schools were often viewed as safe places for students. 

School-Shootings, “an armed attack at an educational institution…also categorized as mass shootings due to multiple casualties”. Over time the categorization for mass shootings that took place on the grounds of educational institutions became an entity of its own due to its increase in numbers. What families once viewed as a safe place for their children became an increasingly petrified fear of what might happen the next day. Families are fearful for their children’s lives because of the uncertainty of what might transpire throughout the day. The saying “ out of sight out of mind” was often used as a means to alleviate one’s consciousness, but now, everything that happens out of sight is always on one’s mind. 

It’s one thing for an outsider to be responsible for a school shooting but for a student to be responsible; this alone surmounts speculations. 

 On April 4, 2023, Highland Park High School became the face of all live broadcasting. There was an anonymous sent report to the Highland Park authorities allegedly stating, someone was seen with a gun in Highland Park High School. The authorities acted accordingly and quickly arrived on the scene and dealt with the situation. The report stated that 5 students were taken into custody, allegedly under charges of, a premeditated institution of mass murder. Regardless if these charges are true or not, it does add context to the situation; students arrived at school with armed weapons and unknown motives. This incident led to the school going on lockdown along with surrounding educational institutions. The authorities reported that no students or staff were harmed that day.  

When pertaining to children, parents fear what they don’t know, and what they do know puts even more fear into them. Can one fathom the pounding sensation of anxiety and terror that lives in a parent knowing that their child could be dead just by going to school? What sounds like a nightmare is an awful reality. The victims of gun violence are increasing at an alarming rate and the term mass shooting is becoming too much of a “common thing”.

When parents were made aware of the situation at Highland Park High School their emotions were incomprehensible. It was reported a swarm of parents arrived at the school shortly after the authorities declared the vicinity safe. 


With this incident underway, the talk on gun violence and gun control is being addressed more strictly. Highland Park has an unsettling history of gun-related incidents. As unfortunate as this is, the reality of the matter is, parents in these communities are questioning whether their child would be better off home-schooled than attending public school.  


When authorities shared more information on the incident they claimed they “received an anonymous tip just after 10:20 a.m. of a rumor of a student with a gun”. What parents fear the most is what they don’t know, but now, knowing that other children are attending school with one’s child is enough to send any parent into shock. Adding onto the fear of outside threats a parent said “It was like a flashback to July.” On Monday, July 4, 2022, the mass shooting that occurred during Highland Park’s independence parade resulted in the death of 7 and injuring of 38 civilians. With the account of 2 gun-related incidents occurring in less than a year, outraged parents are asking “Why is action not being taken?” and “Why do we have to be fearful of our children going to school”. 


Due to these events, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering released a statement proclaiming in part. “While we were so relieved that the event ended without incident, once again, our community was terrorized by the threat of gun violence…We must continue to work towards a time when we can live free from the threat of gun violence. Those who can, need to take action now, so that our students can go to school without fear of random gun violence”. 

Authorities are wondering if the incidents of July 4 and April 4, could be related. With the passing of the July incident, there was a demand for the ban on assault weapons along with that the state’s governor’s announcement of $140 million in funding for school security. 

Parents are still wondering, “Will that be enough?”.

 – ABC, Chicago 5,