Guest Contributor: A Letter of Gratitude

Senior Devon Whyte reflects on Tuesday’s “Swatting” event that shook the Sanford Community

BY DEVON WHYTE, GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Trigger warning: in this heartfelt editorial, senior Devon Whyte writes about Tuesday’s “Swatting” event that, to many in the community, felt like anything but a “hoax.”

I, Devon Whyte, am writing this letter to express how forever grateful I am: for Law Enforcement, Teachers and other staff members at Sanford High, Students, Bus Drivers, parents who cared for our safety – anyone that helped evacuate the School on Tuesday, November 15.

I know we are all trying to move on, but seeing everyone in action and ensuring every kid was accounted for and safe inspired me to do more good. We all experienced something devastating and traumatic – something that we should never have to look out for, yet we do. And as weird as it sounds, I’m glad I was with everyone through this experience. Everyone made the situation feel so much better.

This may sound controversial, but if I had the choice to relive Tuesday, I would. However, not because I liked the feeling of my life being threatened, but because for the first time in my life, I saw people from different backgrounds work together.

Why did it take something so devastating for people to come together?

And although there was no active shooter, to everyone in the building, there was. We believed our lives were in danger. Some of us were not sure what was going to happen to us. We weren’t sure if we would be going home to our families. We weren’t sure if we would be among the tragedies we saw earlier this year. We weren’t sure if we would leave the school unscathed. We, or at least I, felt hopeless.

Also, to people posting on social media, posing with friends laughing, and making disgusting remarks to police officers, I hope you will work on your behavior in the future. You are not only representing yourself but other students and teachers at Sanford.

My main point is I am thankful that everyone cooperated and did what law enforcement instructed. I hope Tuesday opened a lot of eyes to show how crucial law enforcement can be. Not guns. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is. Gun safety should be guaranteed, especially in a place of education. People should NOT feel the need for a gun to protect themselves.

I don’t want to go back to an empty school to collect my belongings because of another threat. I don’t want to come back to see vacant classrooms, desks flipped, and doors barricaded. When I open the doors to Sanford High, I expect to learn and connect with my peers/teachers. I want to enjoy the seven hours we are together.

Sincerely, your student/classmate,

Devon

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