March 20, 2018

I've Gotten Used to It

By Shermane Cowans

Even though we all have lost many friends to gun violence in our community, we were shocked by what happened in Marshall County and Parkland. Schools are supposed to be a safe place.

Earlier, before the shooting at my school had happened, I was with a few kids in the Commons area. It’s a little breakout area, and we’re just sitting there waiting during advisory period when our counselor tells us we all need to go in the classroom, and we’re like, “What are you talking about?” He seemed as if he was worried, but our principal had just been on the morning announcements talking about lockdown drills, so we all assumed it was another drill. Which is ironic under the circumstances.

Then this girl came in and said there was a whole bunch of police officers and there’s a stretcher. And I was like, “What happened?” The girl said, “Someone just shot himself in the neck!” And I was like, “In the neck?!” Then she said he got shot in the hand, then in the leg. They were saying that he died and everything. It was hard to just sit and be calm knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what exactly.

We had to sit in there until everything was cleared out. We couldn’t use the bathroom. We had to stay in our first block. The principal got on the announcements about 30 minutes later, and he sounded like he was about to cry. I can tell that he was very frustrated.

A little bit after I first heard what happened, I called my friend to pick me up, but I was worried about a test I had scheduled later, so I didn’t leave. I was like, “I have to take this test today!” But it got rescheduled, and so I eventually left. I left because I just didn’t want to be at school. I wanted to go home.

I’ve gotten used to it. I’m desensitized to the point, if I hear a gunshot or anything, I’m just like, “okay,” and keep going. But it’s not okay.

I have friends that have been shot and killed, so I wasn’t really scared. But I think it’s a very big deal. The fact that it happened in our school really shocked me.

Just because we may be becoming desensitized to violence on our streets does not mean that we have to accept it. We need to address violence not just in our schools but in our communities.

Think about that kid—the one who brought a gun to our school. Think about his environment. What’s going on in his home? Some kids have the wrong guidance.

These remarks were deliverd at the March For Our Lives Kentucky Rally organized by the Student Voice Team on the steps of the capitol in Frankfort on March 20, 2018.

Shermane Cowans

Shermane Cowans

Shermane is a former member of KSVT. She graduated from Frederick Douglas High School in 2018 and is a student at New York University.