In October 2022, the St. Vrain Valley School board voted unanimously to let law enforcement store long-range, high-accuracy rifles in Lyons and Niwot high schools. The decision yielded a range of responses, although many would not learn of the decision until they heard about it from Carly Davis.
Davis is a senior at Skyline High school. She organized a petition to have the school board reconsider its decision following the initial meeting.
“I could stand up here and tell you statistics. How there’s been 304 fatal school shootings since Columbine in 1999. How there have been 35 school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths just this year,” she said during a November school board meeting. “But I believe that concerning this proposal to put long rifles in schools, statistics don't capture the full fear that students feel about these guns in schools.”
To date, Davis has secured 227 signatures on her petition.
“(We’re) tired of gun violence, tired of school shootings and tired of not being included in decisions that will affect us. I wanted to communicate that student input on this issue is vital, as well as teacher input. If a school board is meant to represent the different schools, why were we not included,” Davis asked of the school board.
Davis has carried a fear of a school shooting since she was little, as she grew up in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which took place in Columbine, Colorado, about an hour’s drive from Longmont.
Davis described the experience of a lockdown drill to the members of the board, a procedure well practiced by every school student.
“There’s always a dreadful quiet that ripples through the laughter because it’s not real this time, but for a second, we all imagined it was,” she said to a silent room of audience members and board officials. “I’m tired of having to settle for hollow laughter and grins that don’t reach my eyes when we have another debate on who gets to hide in the corner, and who gets to hide by the teacher's desk.”
Instead of allowing guns into school, Davis hopes the district and the student resource officers explore better training options to protect students in active shooter situations.
“I like this idea because it doesn’t put as much pressure on teachers. Teachers should not have to learn how to fire a gun or take on the stress of keeping students and themselves safe,” Davis said.
Davis has her own ambitions she hopes to continue to pursue.
“In the future, I want to expand mental health screening and support in a community. Not just at school, but the environment around a school,” she said. “We have to target toxic environments and mindsets, communities in real life and online that perpetuate ideals that could lead to a school shooting.”
Davis's message to those with the power to end the issue of gun violence in schools once and for all comes down to one thing that unites everyone, humanity.
“Humanity comes together after every shooting — vigils, donations, flowers, all of it. What do politicians do? What change ever happens? Communities everywhere do everything they can to support victims and the families of victims after shootings,” she said. “Why do you continue to do nothing? I’m not asking from a student to a politician, I’m asking as a human to another human.”