By Skylar Letteer
As of midnight last night, law enforcement officials were investigating an alleged threat made towards Hardin Valley Academy and Powell High School. Juvenile crime detectives worked throughout the night to learn more about the situation after word of the potential threat spread among social media outlets. This prompted parents to be concerned for the safety of all students, with some even contacting county commissions and school board members. The Knoxville Sheriff’s office was immediately aware of the threat and worked diligently to ensure the safety of all faculty and student bodies. As of now, they have an individual in custody for the potential threat.
Dr. Smith sent out a message this morning explaining that the situation had been resolved and that “Powell High School was never mentioned or threatened in any way.” Apparently there was an inappropriate comment made by a PHS student in an online gaming environment.
When I initially read the report, I felt sick to my stomach. The kind of “sick” you feel when there is a sense of uncertainty. I sat up and read the same words over and over again while my heart sank. The first thought that came to my mind was, great...this again. Another round of teenagers making fun of their parents for being worried and wanting this taken care of immediately; another round of useless drills that nobody takes seriously...this again. Then, my mind began to wander as it does during situations like these. What if this time it isn’t just a joke? What if my life and my friend’s lives are really in danger? That provoked the question, why do we as students feel this way?
No teenager should be worried about potentially losing their life when walking into a building that should be considered safe. As students, we should be able to walk the halls with honest smiles on our faces, but instead we walk the halls having to come to face the reality that today may be the last time I see my peers or my family. Is it possible that this is the new norm and we are becoming desensitized? I’m emotionally exhausted reading reports each year, it’s starting to feel routine and is almost expected. But not all students feel the same, some take situations like this with a grain of salt. Maybe it’s because we toss this subject around so easily since it hasn’t happened to us...distance breeds complacency. More importantly, we refuse to believe that it could. Hearing a conversation take place with statements like, “well I know what to do” “I’m running” “I know where to hide”, is absolutely mortifying. We have become comfortable with the idea that it is only ever going to be a “joke”. It’s easy to disconnect ourselves from an event when it’s unfolding on a screen, but these situations are terrifying and they only seem to get more severe. I don’t like worrying about saying the right words to my loved ones in case something terrible were to happen to me, or that my life might end before it really begins.
Some may say this is an overreaction to an inappropriate comment made in an online gaming environment, but growing up in a world that consists of constant reminders and reality that this has happened and will happen again is horrifying. Can you really blame us for being scared? I don’t want to become just another face, another statistic, another school, another “thoughts and prayers for the family”, or another “this...again” instance.