A Bellaire High School Student’s Perspective on the Shooting



**ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, OCT. 20**A student makes his way into Bellaire High School Friday, Oct. 27, 2006 in Bellaire, Texas. Bellaire High School graduates scores of National Merit finalists every year and is rated among the very top of U.S. high Schools however the federal government said Bellaire doesn’t meet standards. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Minds were shocked and hearts broken on the 14th of this month, when Cesar Cortes, a senior at Bellaire High School, was killed by an accidental shot from another student. Students were evacuated, teachers were filled with confusion.

Gun violence has been an epidemic in our country, affecting almost every aspect of our lives. More recently, it has spread to our lives as students. 

Student Yasmeen Ofleh, a junior, gave some insight and predictions on the dicey situation. 

“I’ve been at Bellaire since the beginning of this school year.”

She disclosed her opinions on Bellaire before the shooting, to compare it to the situation now.

“I did [feel safe] because I came from Lamar and we had multiple incidents and lock downs …there was a smaller amount of those incidents here last semester”

For students in the Houston area, it is common knowledge that shooting and gun-related incidents are common at Lamar High School. Last year, there were two incidents within the same school year. Both incidents involved fatal gun interactions. This seemed like a distant issue for Bellaire, which hadn’t faced a serious gun fright for years. 

“When it happened, I was in the library after school around 4:15 doing my homework. There were about 25 people in the library but so many other students throughout the school. The first announcement said for everyone on the first floor to get into a classroom. As I was packing my things, the second announcement said to evacuate, that a lockdown was happening. The librarians rushed us out of the back door of the library.”

An after school environment, usually serene, was turned into chaos. The question remains: do the students still feel safe?

“I still do, in a way. Yeah, all of the cases were mostly due to personal reasons and I know that with the people I hang out with these types of events are less likely to happen.”

Trust seemed to be a big factor in this situation. In a school, the students trust their administration and faculty to protect them and keep their learning environment secure. Students are not usually asked to prepare themselves for a murder. Nevertheless, Ofleh did not feel unexposed. 

“Perhaps what prepared me the most was constantly seeing shootings on the news all over the internet in the past few years and it’s kind of given me a numbed outlook on situations like these.”

Despite this, Bellaire High School is in the works of regaining their safety. WIth the induction of random searches, Bellaire administration attempts to restore the safety of the students.

“They’re going to start upping security, but I don’t think it will affect much. This happened at Lamar and everything went back to normal after a little while when people started to forget about the incidents.”

For this student, it has become hard to remain hopeful and optimistic. She was asked whether or not she figured much would change by the recent disaster.

“In general, I’m pretty sure much won’t be changed. I would like to see some kind of course or class that educates the students on how to act in that kind of situation.”

In order to get an accurate understanding of a student’s perspective, I asked what good she thought could come out of this situation.

“I’m not sure anything positive can come. I’m still looking for it. I could say awareness but there have been events like this all over the United States and nothing has changed. So to me it’s just another lost life of a child.”