Gun violence within Des Moines

and how it’s affecting our community


Sarenidy Boydston, Journalist

It seems like a normal day at East High School, everyone is smiling full of joy and spirit. You’re in your fourth period class listening to the teacher’s instructions to start the class, and suddenly you hear over the announcements that the school is on lockdown. Feeling confused and worried about why we’re on lockdown again, you hop on social media and see that it’s another situation involving a gun. So much gun violence going on in the world, what is being done to change it? Are actions being taken to help situations like this in schools and keep students safe?

“Gun violence feels too big, too powerful to stop. But it’s not too big for you to take some real, meaningful actions. You can control what you decide you can live with, and what you can’t. You can choose whether you do something, or do nothing. You are not powerless.”

— Jennifer Rosen Heinz

“If it occurs one way to protect the community is to locate who did it, educate young people and the people involved for the reasons why that shouldn’t happen again. It’s a tough situation,” East administrator Anthony Gianaras said.

East is no stranger to these events, leaving students and staff to deal with the anxiety and uncertainness that comes with having a gu

n brought into a school, especially after an incident in the community, like the shooting at Starts Right Here on January 23, which took the lives of two students.

“East staff has increased their security a lot. Public safety stays outside of the school and there are staff standing at every door making sure everyone is safe. With everything going on, they have taken it into their own hands, ensuring students’ safety,” East campus monitor Sabrina Douglass said.

Students have questions about how the situations are handled when a gun is suspected to be in the building.
“It’s handled differently in different situations. If a person is contained, it would result in a lockdown situation. If they don’t have them or know who they are, admin always has radios on and communicates with each other what’s going on. They always try to approach the student in a calm manner, so they don’t freak out,” Douglass said.

Students are left to wonder what can students do to stay safe in the community and at school?
“Be involved in extracurricular activities and keep yourself busy. Clubs and sports are a good way to keep yourself busy. As well

as a new hobby. There are many different clubs East and the community provide. Find what interests you and get involved,” Douglass said.

People often question what causes others students to commit gun violence.
“Students not seeing their own value, not seeing their self-worth. So their willing to throw it away for what I would say is not the right cause,” Gianaras said.