Insensitivity Towards Seniors

Brooklyn Stevenson, Staff writer

(Warning: This article discusses the Saugus Shooting of 2019.)


Underclassmen, as well as some juniors, have been popping bags and bottles to scare the seniors. This issue started during the 2021-2022 school year and still continues to this day. The senior class of 2023 have been faced with traumatic flashbacks and jumpscares as a result.  One would think that these students would have a little more empathy towards those affected by the November 14th tragedy and be mindful of anything that could resemble gunshots, but unfortunately that has been proven completely false. Five brave seniors have agreed to talk about these insensitive acts and give those an insight on the impact a pop could make.

Classes 2024-2026 were not present at Saugus high school during the November 14th tragedy. Though their schools went on lockdown, they never heard any of the gunshots and screaming. They never saw any fallen victims or the perpetrator himself. Senior, Nathan Wiener, describes his experience: ”I got to school just before it happened. I was talking with my friends and heard the shots. Since I was on upper campus, I jumped the fence behind the L building and ran up the hill with a few others to our friend’s house. I remember being extremely worried because my sister was saying goodbye through text, and I watched as my friends experienced the same things.” 

Another senior, Kadin Anderson, recalls: “I was in class where I couldn’t discern what that loud banging was, so I assumed it was coming from the band. But that was replaced with fear when students ran by and into the classroom, screaming about an active shooter. All I can remember is trying to get those around me that froze to move, not wanting to leave anyone behind.” 

Barely into freshman year of high school, these individuals along with almost the entire class of 2023 had to run for their lives out of school and two tragically did not make it out alive. Three were brutally injured, almost losing their lives, and their innocence of the entire campus was stripped away instantly. Many of those affected cannot differentiate between a bag popping or a gunshot and think all popping sounds are gunshots. They do not mean to have their minds go such a morbid route, but this is the reality of trauma. 

Whenever an underclassman or a junior makes a popping noise or a bang, the seniors can experience many different reactions including anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder episode, flight or fight response, and many others. Senior, Monet Rumer, admits, “The sound of the popping makes my heart clench and my anxiety go up.” Anderson also admits,”Regardless of context, loud pops continue to cause extreme paranoia and distress [for him], which is exacerbated within the confines of the school. These actions cause an immediate effect, initiating a fight or flight response, and a dread that it may be happening again.” Senior, Anaisa Castillo, finds herself, “Always on high alert and always ready to go.” Whenever a loud noise was made, senior Mackenzie Crawford recalls, “I know last year […] I would look straight in the direction, freak out, and be like what is this? What just went down?” These are not uncommon experiences amongst seniors as they now remain more cautious with their lives and do not want them to be threatened for a second time. Though seniors who react in such a way may be considered irrational, however many are finding it very difficult to trust the world or even the school campus itself after witnessing lives being taken away. With all the stress that can be experienced from the classes below many are uncomfortable being on this campus. Anderson even, “[T]hought seriously about transfer, as [he] did not feel safe at all here […] because of the insensitive actions of other students.” Everyone deserves a fun and safe high school experience, but these acts make it hard to do so.

Those who agreed to speak out about this issue were asked if administration takes enough action to resolve this issue and if not what they should consider as a solution. Wiener believes, “Admin does not do enough, an announcement on SNN is not enough to stop the insensitivity and probably makes it worse in some cases. Maybe we could add some kind of report system, but it might get abused and also might be intrusive.” Rumer affirms, “I don’t think Admin is doing much about it and it’s really sad. They never commit to solving problems around campus.” Anderson holds “I feel they do some but not enough. I don’t know what more there is to do however, but my first guess would be a better way for students to recommend others for mental well-being checks.” Crawford also believes, “I feel like sometimes they do and other times they don’t because sometimes they turn a blind eye towards [the insensitive acts], but they have done really well when it comes to threats and they talk [the person who made the threat], but sometimes I feel like when they do, everyone is still going to worry and they [act like] nothing is going to happen and stop talking about it.” Sadly, those who were interviewed as well as some others, do not agree that administration takes enough action when resolving the situation. Administration should consider a report system, create a video to present in all underclassmen classes on the significance of the tragedy and what happens to a senior when a loud noise is made. In extreme cases, enforce a punishment for those who are inconsiderate and continue to scare seniors.

  Students at Saugus who are in their Junior, Sophomore, and Freshman years of high school should realize how insensitive their actions are. Not only are they scaring the seniors, but also teachers who were present on the morning of November 14th. They all went through an extremely traumatic experience and deserve love and respect for what they went and continue to go through. Saugus always wants to be a safe and respectful environment which unfortunately is not being fulfilled right now.