Trending Twitter topic, #IfIdieinaschoolshooting, shows the scary reality of gun violence in schools

Updated: 2:30 pm, 5/28/18. “Junior” to “junior” and “Senior” to “senior” (first and second grafs.)

If junior Shanel DeLa Cruz died in a school shooting, no one would be able to take care of her mother and help her recover from her stroke.

If senior Emily Hopwood died in a school shooting, she would never publish a novel, fall in love or have kids.

Sophomore Jamie Florence would never see her brother grow taller than her, or repay her father for moving across the globe to give her a better future.

Yet another school has joined the long list of communities devastated by gun violence. On May 25, one week after a massacre at Santa Fe High School left eight students and two teachers dead, three people were injured in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. In response, teenagers across the country have taken to social media to speak out against gun violence.

The hashtag #ifidieinaschoolshooting was created by Andrew Schneidawind, a college freshman from Virginia, last Sunday and, according to Twitter, in the week since its creation, has been tweeted over 50,000 times. It has gathered national attention and the support of some survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting like Emma Gonzalez and John Barnitt.

In their posts, teenagers call for the politicization of their deaths, recount the events and milestones they would miss if they died during school, and reflect on the effects their deaths would have on friends and family members.

Freshman Bea Agustin thinks that the hashtag is a strong outlet for students to be able to share their emotions and discuss a hard topic.

Junior Kendall Tinianov agrees and believes the hashtag is powerful because it highlights the need for gun control. But she is saddened that it means adolescents need to be vocal about their rights to live.

“Kids need to stop being afraid to go to school,” Tinianov said. “I know it’s a people problem, not a gun problem, but guns are a big part of the problem and they need to go.”

Senior Pyper Olsen, however, is not a fan of the hashtag.

“I don’t want to pretend I know how the victims feel or felt because I’ve never been in that situation,” Olsen said. “But, if this is the only way I can show the students that I care and that school shootings should never happen again, then this is how I’ll do it.”

Junior Mario Luna believes the hashtag illustrates the legitimate fear many teenagers have.

“There have been too many school shootings for teenagers not to be scared,” Luna said.