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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

A student reflects on the CVPA school shooting: 'Things cannot go back to normal.'

Rebecca Smith
Evan Holden and his mom Colette Morton hug outside the Washington University in St. Louis Library.

On October 24, 2022, there was a deadly school shooting at Central Visual & Performing Arts High School (CVPA) in St. Louis City, which shares a building with Collegiate School of Medicine and Biosciences.

Evan Holden is a sophomore journalism student at the University of Missouri who has many connections to the area and the school district. He brought KBIA this reflection.

"I truly never thought this would happen in St. Louis - especially at a school I know and my friends go to."
Evan Holden

In Evan's Words

It started like any other day - I woke up. I had an interview at 11:00 a.m. for a journalism project. But before I left, my mom called me saying that Gateway was on lockdown and she was OK because she had taken a sick day.

My mom is an English teacher at Gateway High School, a STEM magnet school in the St. Louis Public School district and within walking distance of Central Visual & Performing Arts High School (CVPA) and Collegiate high schools.

I didn’t think much about it at the time because I graduated from St. Louis Metro Academic and Classical High School in 2021, and we went on lockdown at least once each school year.

At this point, I started getting a lot of group chat notifications from friends that go to Collegiate and Gateway, but I had to get my interview done, so I muted it. But once the interview was over, I was still getting a lot of messages and lockdowns don’t usually last more than a few hours.

I called my mom to find out what was happening, and that’s when I learned that Gateway was on lockdown because of a deadly school shooting at CVPA and Collegiate.

"But once the interview was over, I was still getting a lot of messages and lockdowns don’t usually last more than a few hours."
Evan Holden

I truly never thought this would happen in St. Louis - especially at a school I know and my friends go to. So, the rest of that day I spent worrying and making sure my friends and community were safe and OK.

After every school shooting people say we need to have more security in schools by adding metal detectors and having school security personnel, or SPOs. But CVPA and Collegiate had these, and the shooter still forced his way in anyway.

Now there’s talk about putting bars on the windows and legislation is being brought up that would arm teachers in Missouri. But I believe that if a shooter wants to get in, they will find a way. And I worry that if teachers are armed, there would be the chance for a student to steal the gun.

Eventually, there will be a shooting at a school with all of the safety measures and what’s next? Armed guards?

In this case, the police came to the shooter’s house because their [the shooter's] parents were concerned. But the police could not legally take the gun away even though the shooter failed a background check and got the gun from a family member.

Why are we so numb to school shootings that nothing happened on Mizzou’s campus? Just two hours away.

The most I saw was people posting on social media and it was talked about in one of my classes. There was no vigil for the people that died or were affected by the shooting.

It was like nothing had happened – while my parents, my friends, my hometown community are still struggling mentally and are worried about the possibility of another shooting.

Things are not back to normal. Things cannot go back to “normal.”

Evan is a sophomore studying journalism at the University of Missouri.
Rebecca Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk. Born and raised outside of Rolla, Missouri, she has a passion for diving into often overlooked issues that affect the rural populations of her state – especially stories that broaden people’s perception of “rural” life.
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