OPINION: School violence, the media and Gardena High School

imageOn Tuesday, January 18, there was a shooting at our school, Gardena High. It happened during the beginning of the 3rd period.

The truth is that through the chaos, we, the students, managed to stay calm, unlike the crazy fools the media made us out to be.

A few days later, El Camino Real High School also made the news because of gunfire, however, they were portrayed as calm good students. The media also talked about how the kids at El Camino had to pee in sinks and trash cans.

Many news anchors portrayed the Camino Real students as “those poor kids.” Most news outlets expressed sympathy for the circumstances the El Camino students were forced to endure. We also had to pee in sinks and did not have any food or drinks while we were on lock down, but there was no sympathy for us, only talk of gun control.

Photos in the news about the shooting at Gardena depicted a young black man in handcuffs. The reports emphasized prior incidents of violence at our school. Yet the photos of El Camino depicted smiling white teenagers “overcoming” the shooting.

The message was that El Camino kids were good respectful kids, while Gardena kids were bad.

Even though we have many uplifting events and student programs at our school, the media doesn’t embrace the good, only the bad. For example, we had No Haters week and designed a unity mural; we organized a youth media conference; advocated for undocumented students, and participated in Denim Day. Every year students from our school also get accepted into prestigious universities.

But the media consistently looked for and portrayed students who fit the stereotype of what they thought Gardena was.


Women’s Leadership Project of Gardena High School