“This Won’t Happen to Me”

School Shootings and their Real-Time Impact at MBS

Sloane Fiverson, News Editor

Day after day, headlines flash: “There has been a shooting,” followed by crying children, blaring sirens, and body counts filling news segments. Thanks to the immediate Instagram stories posted honoring those who have passed, word spreads quickly. Sadness and fear always live within, but we all silently believe, “This won’t happen to me .” 

On April 4, 2023, while MBS students were sitting in class, or hanging out with friends, another headline flashed. This time, it was not coming from thousands of miles away, just two. There was a report of a gunman at Saint Elizabeth University in Morristown. No one knew what to do – do we lock down or leave? 

Seeing that there was no immediate risk to the Morristown Beard campus, mixed responses to the crisis flooded the campus. Out of fear and concern, Many seniors wanted to leave– just take their cars, and go. Others contacted their parents to try and leave campus. Barely any information was available, and students who knew people near or at Saint Elizabeth’s High School were getting mixed messages. This wasn’t just a headline. For many, it was a jarring experience, to say the least. 

The confusion ceased once an email from the Head of School Liz Morrison was released stating that MBS was under no direct threat. To take extra precautions, Morrison enacted an exterior closed campus, meaning no one was allowed on or off school grounds. 

With the limited information coming in, it was difficult for senior administration to make the right decision. Head of the Upper School Ryan Liese said, “The immediate plan was to figure out the status for our campus.” Liese noted that gathering information about the potential threat, especially the location, was crucial in making their decision to close campus. 

Chantal Thornberry, Director of Student Culture and Wellbeing, said that once it was proven that there was no direct threat to MBS, Senior Team, in an effort to keep all of the students and faculty safe, decided to close the campus. The closed campus allowed all members of the MBS community to continue the school day safely, by staying indoors as much as possible and avoiding public roads, but business as usual would continue on campus. By the end of the school day it was reported that there was no intended threat to any school. But just the idea that it could happen truly set in amongst the students, teachers, and faculty at MBS, perhaps for the first time. 

We live in a nation where going to school is a risk. Both political parties believe that this is a pressing issue in America and will only continue to grow if nothing changes. Since December 2012, when 26 people, including 20 five and six year olds, at Sandy Hook Elementary School were murdered at the hands of a gunman, the number of shootings yearly has only increased. Four months into 2023, there have been at least 42 incidents of gun violence on school campuses, leaving behind 32 injured and 17 deaths. 

Never think you are not enough if you want to make a change.

While we must always be aware of the threat, there is something we can do. Never think you are not enough if you want to make a change. Although most of our student body is not eligible to vote, the opportunity to get involved is still available to us. In addition, the organizations Sandy Hook Promise and March For Our Lives work to support legislation to continuously keep this issue at the forefront of the media. As we move forward, the hope is that the nation and the government can solve this ever-worsening problem and find a solution where schools will no longer be a place of fear but filled with happiness and creativity where the only source of stress is your next in-class essay.