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MSU shooting survivors may experience mental, educational side-effects, research shows

Michigan State Shooting
Michigan State Shooting
Michigan State Shooting
Michigan State Shooting
Posted at 1:05 AM, Feb 17, 2023

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Research from Stanford University shows school shootings lead to drops in student enrollment and a decline in average test scores.

Not surprising facts to many students at Michigan State University who witnessed Monday's school shooting.

Sophomore Bobby Cushing told 7 Action News, "We hear Snyder Hall on the scanner and it’s like, ‘Is this where I'm going to die? Is this the end of my life?'"

Cushing, with his girlfriend Danielle Hand and a couple of their friends, barricaded themselves inside his dorm room Monday night.

They said they listened to the police scanner for hours.

"I was just praying, I did not know what was going to happen. I was texting my mother, wondering if I’d even see her again," said Sophomore Danielle Hand.

Thankfully, the two and their friends remained physically unharmed, but days later, the traumatic experience is taking a toll on the young couples' mental health.

"Every time I hear a little noise now, I just think back to that," said Hand.

Devastatingly enough, there are hundreds-of-thousands of students with these experiences.

An interactive data base from The Washington Post shows that more than 338,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since the Columbine High Massacre in 1999.

Senior at Michigan State University, Alyssa Boyer told 7 Action News, "I just don’t see myself coming back here and like wanting to sit in a classroom."

Classmate Lindsey Woodworth agreed, "I can’t imagine coming back to class and sitting on this campus."

The same Stanford research shows, students who have witnessed a school shooting have a higher rate of using antidepressants, are less likely to graduate, and are also less likely to be employed or make as much when compared to others their age during their 20s.

MSU Senior, Ally Anderson shared, "In the classroom, when we go back, I feel like I’ll be thinking about other things besides the lecture happening. I’ll be thinking about exit strategies or what could potentially happen."

The ripple effect of Monday's school shooting will frankly be felt for a lifetime.

As we mourn the lives of the students lost way too soon, we must also remember the students who survived.

As policy makers debate what can be done to prevent more school shootings, we must also discuss how to help the hundreds of thousands of students who have survived them.

"It’s gonna be something that’s always in the back of my head," said senior Daniel Morlote.

"You just have to listen with an open ear and have sympathy," said Cushing.

Woodworth said, "Nobody wants to talk about this, no one wants to sit down and talk about school shootings but I feel like now we have to."