School Violence: The Series

How Media Portrays School Shootings

Infographic by Ella Adams

“More than 240,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.” Laughter and happiness was all gone in seconds. In this case gunshots were the reason it was taken away. Sadly, students have already experienced this same feeling.

As of November 4th, 2019, the Gun Safety Support Fund says there have been a total of 84 incidents of gunfire on school grounds. Even worse is the way the media portrays these shootings. Media focuses on the topic of school shootings because it gets views and improves ratings compared to regular programing which is often overlooked.

Students in this generation know everything involves technology or some sort of automation. However, some users can use these advancements irresponsibly.  Newscasters can get caught up in views, which makes them forget the real reason they do their job; to inform the public, but not scare them while doing it. According to a recent CNN article, “There has been, on average, 1 school shooting every week this year”. This report by Saeed Ahmed and Christina Walker, used the scare tactic to get views.  The mood of this title in this article is frightening and concerning even, which makes you want to click. Due to the widespread amount of people that can reach technology so easily, it can also affect a large number of people.

Samantha Woodford
Freshman Zoe Holden uses her phone to check most recent school violence statistics. Zoe said, “It’s amazing to have so much information at our fingertips. However we need to use it responsibly.”

Freshman Kaitlyn Cicero said, “After reading this headline I was terrified. I never realized how often school shootings occur! This could happen at any time and we would have no clue.”

Senior Clayton Demcher said, “I’m not really scared everyday, but there are some kids you see getting bullied and you wonder if they would ever do something like hurt others as revenge.”

Fox News is the number one news cable network with an average of 2.42 million viewers with 488,000 of those falling in the key adults 25-54 demographic. Most adults would have children old enough to be in school during these ages, which then would interest the subject of school shootings to the parents.

The more concerned parents, the more clicks. This gives the news station more attention and improves their ratings. The Pew Research Center explains, “Parents of teenagers express similar levels of concern as teens themselves, with 63% saying they are at least somewhat worried about the possibility of a shooting happening at their child’s school.” That is more than half of guardians worried to send their own child to school, somewhere that is supposed to be safe.

Danielle Woodford, a graduate from Pottsville Area High School said, “I was terrified once I saw how often these events took place. I was even thinking of sending my daughters to a private school.”

Not every guardian feels the same way. Charlene Koch, a PAHS graduate said, “I’m not scared to send my granddaughter to school. Pottsville is a safe school because they take threats very seriously.”

On February 14, 2018 the tragedy of the Parkland Shooting occurred and still today we are hearing about the subject. Being the eventful year 2018 was, there was more than enough news to cover. Instead, this event caused publicized debates over school safety, gun control and also bullying.

These conversations still continue today, when other news is overlooked. As an example on the same date as the Valentine’s Day shooting, South African President Jacob Zuma resigned from office. Instead of this topic gaining popularity, the main focus was on the victims of Nikolas Cruz, who killed seventeen and injured seventeen others.

Senior Stone Fekette said, “It’s good to have media cover such sensitive topics. It brings awareness to other schools and can help us prepare for the situation if it ever happens.”

Junior Katie Brennan said, “Not everything should be displayed on social media though. It’s so much more graphic now with technology; kids can post pictures or videos of it even happening. As a student that hits on a different level while seeing that.”

Gunshots were the beginning of what took away happiness and laughter. The way media portrays school shootings reminds us of the sadness it brought. As a result of the way media portrays school shootings it gets views and this adds to the stress that students feel about the situation.