The Effect of School Shootings on Students’ Mental Health

School shooting stats from 2009. Photo provided by

Lyndsay Lemmerman

Students at Freedom High School are back in the building for the 2021-2022 school year, but a new year brings back old concerns. 

Over the past 10 years the United States of America has had over 180 school shootings. This epidemic has affected every student in every school in America. The 2020 school year saw a decline in school shootings across America, largely due to the lack of students in the building. 

This small reprieve did not last long though, with students returning to school, many states have already begun to see school shootings again. According to EducationWeek, in 2021 there have been 21 school shootings resulting in six deaths. This devastating number is already double the amount of 2020.

Many students upon returning to school can feel their old fears resurfacing.

“Just the idea is constantly in the back of your mind,” said Rylan Gray, a freshmen at FHS.

This idea that a school shooting could potentially happen at Freedom or to a school nearby negatively affects students’ mental health and ability to feel safe at school. School, which is where students are supposed to feel safe, cannot function properly if students are scared to enter the building. 

At Freedom many people can remember hearing about the Parkland shooting, a devastating school shooting that happened in 2018, they remember the protests, the news coverage and the feeling they had upon hearing about it. 

“After the Parkland shooting in 2018, I was really freaked out to go to school, it just didn’t feel right to continue going back to normal after something that bad had just happened,” said Anthony Pham, a sophomore at FHS.

Although the Parkland shooting was not the first time students have been exposed to the presence of school shootings. Lockdown drills have been a part of school safety since elementary school, which is something that many parents and FHS faculty did not have to do or worry about when they were young. 

Students have been hearing about tragedy after tragedy since they were kids, tragedies that directly target their own safety. Hearing this can cause many students’ mental health to decline. Students’ mental health and safety is very important.. Having a good support system for students at FHS can help students keep a good mental health and put a stop to anxieties, not just about school shootings but all problems students may have.

“As long as students feel comfortable going to someone, then there’s no reason that they shouldn’t find someone that they’re able to talk to,” Gray said.

Freedom offers many programs such as sources of strength and bi-weekly advisory meetings to help students, it also has guidance counselors that students can use to talk about any thoughts or feelings they may have. 

The presence of school shootings has not only negatively affected this and the next generation.

“We take more safety precautions and teach kids more about safety, more than some parents did in the past,” said Isha Talwar, a sophomore at FHS. 

Young kids are learning more about gun safety and what to do in the event someone gets into the school who is not supposed to be there, but there is still more to be done to stop school shootings. 

Better mental health education and programs offered to students and citizens across the country can help people who are suffering with a mental illness. Students at FHS can also do their part to help. Being kinder to others and doing their best to take care of their own mental health may be small but can have a large impact on the student body as a whole. 

To learn more information about  2021 school shooting statistics go to