After another school shooting, Orlando students reflect on campus safety

Generation Under Fire panel weighs in on training for tragedies

By Ashleigh Coran - Executive Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - One day after a deadly school shooting rattled the residents of Colorado community, a group of Central Florida students opened up about gun violence and how it affects them on campus. 

Ryan, a soon-to-be graduate of Windermere High School, told News 6 she woke up one morning earlier this month to find that news of a shooting at a STEM school in Highlands Ranch was trending on her Twitter feed. 

“I’d like to say shocked, but it wasn’t shocking,” Ryan said. “It was just disappointing.”

Ryan is just one of five students who make up News 6’s Generation Under Fire panel. 

The group of Central Florida teenagers started volunteering their time in spring 2018 after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland as a way to give students a platform to discuss safety changes and concerns they experienced at school. 

One year later, the teenagers still have to hear about shootings on campuses around the nation, and for James, University High School senior, hearing about it never gets easier.

“I think it’s a terrible thing that shouldn’t happen,” James said. 

Two teens are accused of opening fire May 7 inside STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. One student died and eight others were injured. 

After the shooting, stories of heroes emerged from witnesses. A parent told the New York Times that students tried to apply pressure to the wounds of an injured classmate. 

Training for first aid and trauma care was not something Camiryn learned during her emergency drills at Lake Mary High school. 

“I want to be one of the people who would try to help, but we haven’t been taught how to do anything like that,” Camiryn said. 

Brian, a senior at Dr. Phillips High School, explained a similar situation.  

“We’ve always been instructed to hide and stay quiet. I like to think I would intervene and try to help the students around me,” Brian said. “I don’t know how I would react in that situation.”

News 6 asked representatives from Central Florida school districts if they provide trauma care or first aid lessons to students during active shooter training.  

Lake, Flagler, Brevard, Osceola and Volusia County Public Schools said they do not provide that specific training to students during drills. 

Marion County Public Schools said they teach CPR and first aid in health occupation classes. 

A spokesperson for Orange County Public Schools said next school year, they will have a new program for staff to learn how to apply pressure to wounds. The district plans to release more information on that opportunity as it becomes available. 

Ryan said the thought of having to prepare for that outcome was concerning. 

“It’s almost terrifying for a school to say, ‘If someone is down on the ground bleeding, here’s what you need,’” Ryan said. “It’s terrifying that the reality is, it would get that far…”

The days of emergency drills at high school are coming to an end for four of the five students who make up the Generation Under Fire panel. 

All of them have plans to continue their education as they look forward to college in the coming months. 

The youngest panelist, 15-year-old Zander, still has a few years left at Boone High School and hopes his message will be heard. 

“Everyone up in the government, they aren’t 15, 16, 17, 18,” Zander explained. “They have to be older than that to be where they are right now. So this is a great platform to get our views out there and show people how we feel and how we want to move forward in the world.”

Minutes after filming ended for this Generation Under Fire installment, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will allow more teachers to carry guns.

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