Written by The Blue and Gold senior editorial staff.
The feeling in your chest when a cop walks into your school with his hand on his gun is irreplicable. Your heart sinks into your stomach and races faster than it ever has before. In the past, there have been a number of threats of violence against our school, but for as long as any of us seniors can remember, there has never been a time when one of those threats was actually acted on.
However, that all changed on Thursday, April 7th, 2022. Malden High School held its breath for nearly an hour, going into lockdown after a violent act occurred in the school and a student was injured.
Students were in classrooms or the lunchroom with doors locked, teachers paced and whispered into their walkie-talkies, the lights from an ambulance flashed through the windows and everyone was stuck in a state of oblivion as to what was going on.
With most people having access to phones and technology, it was not long before most students had a general idea of what had happened, but that did not stop the feelings of anxiety and fear that coursed through us. Messages from group chats began popping up as people checked in with their friends. “Is everyone okay?” “What is going on?”
After the incident, there was a noticeable shift within the school. The event that occurred that day shook many students, but nothing was as disturbing as the response we observed from the student body. The laughter, the gossip and the eagerness that came as people watched a peer being wheeled out on a stretcher was disgusting.
We have been back in person for over a year, so when are we going to stop making excuses over the lack of maturity permeating the student body and blaming it on quarantine? Where do we draw the line?
While a number of students were concerned with the safety of the students involved and the mental state of the school, others continued to share a video of the incident, making a joke out of it and taking away from the severity of the situation. Some even went as far as lying about their age and grade level to simply be on the news and gain their 15 seconds of fame, inserting themselves into a horrifying occurrence in a sad plea for attention.
As high school journalists, we value integrity, honesty and morality in our reporting. Yet, local news outlets stood outside the main entrance, waiting for students to exit in order to get interviews with minors who had just undergone a traumatic experience, seemingly without regard for the students’ mental states.
With all the issues that have gone on this year, from skipping classes to the issues plaguing the bathrooms, it is almost unsurprising that it has escalated to this level. There has definitely been a huge shift in school culture from when we were freshmen in 2018. While we were far from perfect, none of us remember any problems as egregious as some of the incidents we have witnessed this year. Even just the lack of basic empathy and respect toward other students as well as teachers is exhausting to watch.
Students continue to skip class, with Principal Mastrangelo having to remind kids in the morning that when the bell rings, they have to go to class. Is this elementary school? Why do some students need to be reminded to go to class? The faculty should not have to be babysitting students, yet it has become a necessity at this point. It should not be the responsibility of teachers to chase students down to do their homework or attend class when they should be fully capable of doing so on their own.
We hear that people want to make the transition back to how things were before, but as we continue to blame misconduct on COVID and justify bad behavior, these behaviors become the new normal. At this rate, in a few years, there will be more students in the hallways than in classrooms, more students failing from their absences rather than their academic shortcomings and a decrease in school spirit. Malden High used to be a place where education was a priority, students were welcoming and teachers were respected, but the current culture is a terrible representation of who we are as a student body.
As we prepare to leave this school in just a few short weeks, we can only hope that the culture in the building will shift and return to the Malden High School that we know and love: A school where students can feel safe walking down the halls, where compassion and empathy exist and where community is valued.