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The news site of Staley High School

Staley News

The news site of Staley High School

Staley News

Taking Cover — Again

Photographer Reflects After Yet Another Shooting
Leland Samuel

People in my generation have to sit and listen to the older generations talk about how “soft” and “ungrateful” we are – across social media platforms and news outlets. They talk about, “When we were young,” or say, “We didn’t have all of the things you have.”

And while I can kind of see their point, I feel like they don’t see things like we do. 

They made less money, but life was cheaper. They could go outside, and their parents wouldn’t worry. They could stroll to the store without fearing for their lives.

Well, “in my day” I have to keep my head on a swivel while I am at school. “In my day” I can’t go to the store without having the thought in the back of my head that I am in danger. “In my day” I have to tell myself I don’t want kids because I don’t want them to grow up in a world where they must learn how to use books as shields from bullets.  

I am a yearbook photographer, and this school year alone, I have personally had to take cover during two different shootings while on assignment — including the shooting at the Kansas City Super Bowl rally, which left one person lifeless and many others, including young children, injured, and this weekend, the shooting on the North Kansas City High School campus after our high school basketball game. Earlier this school year, at the North Kansas City School District’s football jamboree, the games ended after a brawl. At the time, we thought there was a gun. 

It is rare to find someone our age who hasn’t shared an experience like this. Older generations think we are soft and ungrateful, but they don’t realize what we realize. We must fear for our safety in the places that are supposed to be safe — school, home, our college dorms, public settings meant to bring the city together.

We are constantly forced to know the quickest exit. Know where possible threats could go. And in my honest opinion, we aren’t taught enough in school about what we would do in those situations.

Last year alone, there were more than 340 school shootings in the United States. Nearly a shooting every day. If that doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, I don’t know what would.

As a parent or grandparent, you send your kid to school and don’t know if they will come home. I can’t even go take pictures of a high school basketball game without being forced to hide in a concrete locker room because there is an active shooter outside of the building.

Letter From Principal About Basketball Game

EdWeek: School Shootings This Year


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  • Todd PowersMar 4, 2024 at 8:17 PM

    Awesome article from a guy who’s been there. I really appreciate your honesty on the subject. As parents and grandparents, we most often hear, “everything’s great, no problems!” It’s a good thing to hear the real hurt and fear that’s the reality of life today. I support you and wish you the best!