OPINION: Counseling After School Violence Needs To Be Established


Michael Amador

On Sept. 15, students were instructed to evacuate to the front of the high school.

Students at Klein Forest High School were evacuated Thursday, Sept. 15 following an alleged bomb threat made against the school. The student faced felony charges and was swiftly expelled. Students then returned to campus the next morning and resumed their regular scheduled classes. 

This incident followed a pattern that has plagued other surrounding school districts in the Houston area, the state of Texas and the nation as a whole. The possibility of violence occurring in schools is a strong possibility and we are hindering the development of the next generation by avoiding this conversation about school safety.

The Houston Chronicle published multiple articles during the month of September regarding incidents involving threats made against Houston schools. One describes the active shooter hoax as a “new trend” and another is alarmingly titled, “Houston schools have faced 3 threats this week.” 

According to KHOU 11, over 100 Texas schools reported low attendance rates in the days following threats made against them in 2021.  While none of these schools suffered physical casualties, we cannot ignore the implications this will have on student and staff mental health, as well as the considerable effect that these threats have on disrupting class time.  

While the threat was unsubstantiated, some students felt that this did not take away from the severity of the event. Junior Pablo Perez said his evacuation experience was “pretty scary” in the moment. 

“You got the alert that there was a bomb threat, and you didn’t really know what was happening,” Perez said. “You weren’t sure if it was real. It’s pretty scary when you think about all the shootings that have happened over the years, and how easy it is for another to happen.”

School violence has become ingrained in the American consciousness, which adds to our cultural identity. Art teacher Richard Cartaxo believes Americans are becoming desensitized to all types of violence, and that this isn’t something that “is not being addressed.”

“It’s becoming less shocking,” Cartaxo said. “That’s what’s part of the problem. Violence is glorified in a lot of ways, and it’s becoming less of a big deal.”

Popular music, movies, video games and TV all share this obsession with glorifying violence. This may lead some people to believe that we must make an effort to restrict these things, while others believe that censorship is not the solution to this issue. 

“You don’t really only see violence in music and other media,” Perez said. “Violence is a real thing. Banning or restricting these things won’t help.”

Through constant broadcast of these events, one can begin to think that we are living in an epidemic of school violence. Assistant principal Jeremy Lewis believes that heavy media coverage of these incidents can contribute to this. 

“We now have so many avenues to broadcast it that it can feel like an epidemic,” Lewis said. “Social media can be so influential in what our school violence is perceived as.” 

While violence has always been an issue in our schools, its coverage in the media is enveloped in a bureaucratic tug-of-war between political parties. This debate between lawmakers is an unproductive quarrel that staggers any real advancement towards solving the issue. 

With this in mind, it is still obvious to most that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. There are plenty of efforts we could make to prevent these events from happening in our schools.

“I think the biggest factor is getting to know your students,” Lewis said. “Administration, teachers and police officers getting to know their students, that is the biggest deterrent. We can keep throwing money at the problem, but the other part of it is making sure that students are being counseled.” 

This idea is one that a lot of people will agree on. Data from the American School Counselor Organization shows that emphasis on student counseling and mental health has been shown to not only improve student’s academic success, but establish a sense of safety in the school environment. 

Counseling and a focus on student mental health is an incredibly valuable resource that must be utilized in the pursuit of creating a safe space for students. We must make an effort to implement this tactic in our schools, as well as having open discussion about the issue. It is not an easy conversation, but it may be the most important one.