Putting Our Grief to Good Use


The Middle School Entrance of the STEM school in Highlands Ranch. Photo courtesy of Colorado Public Radio

Grief can manifest itself in many different ways. At least for me, it takes a while to truly recognize what I’m feeling. I’ll hear news of a tragedy and I won’t feel anything for a while, almost like I’m tuning out the swell of emotions that threaten to overcome my thoughts.

When I first heard the news of a shooting at the STEM school in Highlands Ranch, it didn’t register. It took me several hours to process the horrific events that had happened, but when I finally came to terms with the reality of the situation, it struck me like a freight train. I won’t lie to you, I cried. It felt as though every tragedy, crisis and trauma Colorado has faced in the last month finally came to a head.

Many students right now may be feeling something similar. It seems like there’s not a day that goes by when we don’t hear news of some shooting, crisis or other trauma that threatens to shatter our community.  Processing grief is difficult, it’s scary and it can be downright terrifying. No one our age should ever be put in a position where they have to cope with such terrible crises such as those we’ve endured in recent weeks, yet somehow we still do.

The night following the shooting, students took to social media advocating for change, for action and for support of those who had lost everything. Fairview students took their grief and anger and used it to advocate for what they believed in. Students offered an outpouring of care and support to those impacted at the STEM school and brought forth a wave of anger and frustration upon the officials in our government who did not enact legislation that could have stopped this terrible tragedy.

A small sample of Instagram stories advocating for support and policy change following the shooting at the STEM school on May 8th, 2019.

Grief can manifest itself in many ways, but that night, students across the state turned the vast amounts of sorrow we all felt into a call for action. Processing grief is difficult, but our state’s community chose to use that grief to make a difference.

The message students across Colorado delivered that night was plain and simple.

It stops here.

It’s time put our grief and sorrow to good use.

It’s time to change our gun laws and prevent another school shooting.