CULVER CITY (CBSLA) — From Columbine to Parkland, it’s long been suggested that nothing can be done to stop school shootings.
The Culver City Unified School District held a town hall Saturday — the 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre — for answers.
CBS2’s Greg Mills spoke to teachers and students about the meeting.
“I think about it every day. It’s something that’s always lingering in my head,” says high school student Antonella Borias.
That lingering, harrowing thought — is today the day someone will open fire at school?
Mills asked students if they worried about school shooting?
“Yes, I, you always worry as a student,” said Maya DeGanyer.
School safety was pretty much a given until April 20, 1999.
Since the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado the issue of school safety has been a priority.
“We are always afraid,” says Sophia Limon, a high school student.
At the town hall Saturday, they honored the victims of the Columbine massacre and worked on ways to create safer schools.
“No student is going to be safe until we have gun control,” says DeGanyer.
Among recommendations made to the superintendent: parents signing off on keeping guns at home locked up.
Many students told Mills they want to be involved in decisions about their safety and they believe in some cases they believe their input isn’t welcome or valued.
Is their youth a factor?
“Because of your youth, because you are deemed as ignorant,” says high school student Sanah Niazi.
The student said they have gone to safety seminars and they have practiced what to do in the event of an active shooter, they say, since they started attending school.
Those drills students say can be traumatizing and need to change.
“One time we had a substitute,” says Borias, “and she didn’t know what to do and broke down. I don’t know how I can put my life in her hands.”
The town hall also focused on attacking the problem of school violence before it starts and, worse, escalates.
“We have tons of evidence that social and emotional interventions work,” says Kelly Kent, president of the Culver City Board of Education.
Kent plans to recommend that Culver City students who might be experiencing issues get counseling.
“Are there training programs available where we can empower our students to do some of this support right now?,” she says.
If there is peer support and counseling, students still don’t believe they can do it all on their own.
“They also need the assistance of a professional mental health [counselor] to deal with more severe issues,” says Miriam Brown with LA County Mental Health.
A point to note — the students who took part in the town hall weren’t even born when Columbine happened, all they can do is hear about what happened. On another side note, Greg Mills relates that he was a sportscaster at the time, working in Denver, and he was pressed into service that day to cover the tragedy. “I covered the story that day,” he says, “And I’ll never forget it. I also lived in Littleton and my kids went to school in that same district.”
He added, “My family, and I, will never ever forget.”