Students find grieving place after Florida school shooting

Due to the most recent school shooting that occurred at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students at Sonoma State University have all reacted to this tragedy differently. 

Everyone grieves in their own way. Some community members and students have found comfort in connecting with others. On Wednesday, the on-campus event “School Shootings, Student Lives, and Well-Being” took place in the HUB to focus on healing and processing about the recent Florida shooting.

The HUB provided a safe and confidential place for students to come together to grieve or express their frustration regarding the massacre. A representative from SSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services was present at the social gathering to provide professional support to those that needed it. 

Due to the shooting being a sensitive topic, some students that attended the event asked that their names be left anonymous. 

According to a senior student in attendance, many students are ready to show the CSU system and each other solidarity, and they are not just going to let this go by.

“I definitely just felt completely numb,” the senior said. “Sandy Hook, Las Vegas; those things were so incredibly personal to me, and with this I just didn’t have the reservoir to do that and a lot of other people felt that way and that’s scary that literally no emotion happens whatsoever.”

In events like this, some students begin to question the safety of themselves and others on campus. Many feel this has triggered a reaction to do something about this problem.

A sophomore student said she thinks a lot of people are done with feeling unsafe and feeling uncomfortable; that the reaction from the students at Sonoma State has really skyrocketed a movement.

“I think that the discussion is happening on a lot of college campuses, a lot of high school campuses, a lot of policy makers are really starting to get to the root of it and discovering why it’s happening and how we can prevent this from happening,” the sophomore said. “I think we’re going to hear a lot more about it at Sonoma State too.”

President Sakaki sent out an email on Feb. 22, which said students’ safety and security was a top priority. She discussed how the shootings bring awareness and urgency to address mental health needs and gun control policies. At the bottom was an attached link to emergency procedures and emergency preparedness programs. 

Sonoma State’s Counseling and Psychological Services encourages students to take advantage of the counseling and psychological services offered to them if they feel affected by recent events. 

“I think people’s sense of safety has been adversely impacted by recent acts of violence, traumatic events like the Sonoma County fires, as well as by the general sociopolitical climate,” said Laura Williams, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Sonoma State. “We are seeing an increase in levels of distress for folks coming into the CAPS office for services.”

In response to campus safety in the event of a shooting, Emily Ledford, a freshman, said, “I think that CSAs should discuss a plan of action for residential community members and that professors should be discussing a plan of action for in-classroom emergencies.” 

For students needing counseling regarding the recent shooting or any other crisis, CAPS has open walk-in hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.