Facing the aftermath

Sophomore experiences gun scare

Sophomore+Jenifer+Barnes+was+in+eighth+grade+when+a+student+brought+a+gun+into+her+classroom.+Today%2C+she+isn%27t+scared+of+guns+themselves%2C+but+rather+how+many+people+can+easily+get+them.+
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Facing the aftermath

Sophomore Jenifer Barnes was in eighth grade when a student brought a gun into her classroom. Today, she isn't scared of guns themselves, but rather how many people can easily get them.

Sophomore Jenifer Barnes was in eighth grade when a student brought a gun into her classroom. Today, she isn't scared of guns themselves, but rather how many people can easily get them.

Maya Hernandez

Sophomore Jenifer Barnes was in eighth grade when a student brought a gun into her classroom. Today, she isn't scared of guns themselves, but rather how many people can easily get them.

Maya Hernandez

Maya Hernandez

Sophomore Jenifer Barnes was in eighth grade when a student brought a gun into her classroom. Today, she isn't scared of guns themselves, but rather how many people can easily get them.

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Hushed whispers filled the agriculture classroom in a small Delaware town as a school administrator entered. He interrupted the teacher’s presentation to tell the class he needed to talk to a student. The adults made their way to a table in the back of the room to a boy sitting quietly. He didn’t have many friends in that class and didn’t talk much.

Sophomore Jenifer Barnes, then an eighth grader, turned to watch the exchange from her seat and her classmates did the same. The eyes of every student were on the administrator as he motioned for the boy to grab his bag. The three left without another word.

Maybe he just has to leave for the day, Jenifer told herself. Maybe he has to go somewhere and they’ll talk to him, or his bag might be getting searched.

Her thoughts were interrupted when the teacher entered again and pulled out the student that was sitting next to the boy in the back. When she returned a few minutes later, neither student was with her, and she didn’t say anything about what had played out outside of the classroom.

Nobody knew what happened until two days later when the student that shared a table with the boy returned to class and Jenifer asked him about it.

“Yeah, he had a gun in his bag and he showed me,” the student replied.

She never even considered that this could be a possibility.

“I didn’t think anything was wrong, necessarily, because kids could get pulled out all the time,” Jenifer said. “I never thought it was going to be as serious as him having a gun.”

Jenifer was bewildered. Question after question came up in her mind as she processed the information. He had a gun? Where did he get it? Why did he show it to the student? It was the last period of the day, and he hadn’t hurt anybody, so she didn’t think he was planning on it.

“It was honestly kind of shocking because I’d known who he was and I wasn’t really friends with him, but I’d talked to him a few times when we were in class,” Jenifer said. “I didn’t understand why he would bring the gun because he didn’t seem like he wanted to hurt anybody.”

If your kid can get to your gun and get it in his backpack and bring it to school for a whole day, then there needs to be change.”

— Jenifer Barnes, 10

In the following days, the information spread throughout the school. The boy that brought the weapon never returned to school, and the students were all talking about it as they noticed the empty seat at the back table.

“I don’t feel like I was scared really, because I knew that he wasn’t there anymore and it was getting dealt with, but I feel like everyone was kind of on edge and suspicious about what had happened,” Jenifer said.

However, soon after, the students were told not to discuss it, especially when it officially became a legal matter. When teachers called the boy’s name while taking attendance, students just looked around the room silently.

“It felt like everyone knew what had happened but no one said anything about it,” Jenifer said.

After the scare, Jenifer heard about more and more mass shootings.

“One gun could still hurt so many people,” Jenifer said. “Personally, when I hear stories of when there are shootings and all that, it’s definitely scary. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but nowadays it could.”

It’s not necessarily guns Jenifer is afraid of. Her dad was in the Army, and both she and her mom know how to use a gun to protect themselves.

“I get that some people want to be able to defend themselves so that’s why they open carry a gun, so as long as they’re not doing anything wrong with it, I don’t have a problem with it,” Jenifer said.

Jenifer is more concerned with the people behind the trigger. She thinks people need to pay more attention to who is getting guns and how they get them.

“If your kid can get to your gun and get it in his backpack and bring it to school for a whole day, then there needs to be change,” Jenifer said.

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