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To the Editor:

Walking into my sophomore year of high school, I was excited for surprises. But now, as the school year comes to an end, I look at random students and wonder if the surprise will be that the student walking next to me could be a shooter. 17. That number stains my mind. 17 innocent students and teachers were shot and killed at Parkland High School. A high school just like mine.

If we could eliminate bullying in our lives, school would be a safer place. Unfortunately, one in four students said they have been bullied and have a higher risk of committing suicide. Bully victims are twice as likely to bring a weapon to school.

Although bullying can be difficult to identify, parents, teachers and students should invest time in creating a healthy student environment. A parent could have a child who is possibly a bully or a bully victim. Whatever the case, many students feel like no one can help them and they are ashamed because they have been told by others that bullying is a part of growing up. However, society can no longer complacently allow this commonplace notion.

Parents, start talking to your child about bullying, ask them how their day was, and check their grades. Teachers, keep your door open to all the students in your class. And students, please consider those who are different than you with empathy rather than ridicule. If we all unite, we can end this.

Kaitlyn Ting

Carbondale

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