Student journalists at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland wanted to find a way to express the ugly reality of school shootings and just how common they have become. So they turned to what one called “dark satire” to tell the story, and they did a powerful job of it, publishing this in the June edition of their student newspaper, The Tattler.
Emily Schrader, 17, who is one of six members of the Tattler’s managing staff and one of three top editors for next year, said the newspaper team thought it was important to address what has been a prevailing theme for the last year: school shootings.
While the back page of the monthly newspaper is usually a piece of lighthearted comedy or satire, she said it was time to do something different. In what she called “dark satire,” the journalists decided to portray how students view the shootings.
“I think a lot of the reaction to school shootings recently is that students view it as predictable,” she said. “There’s this tragic predictability to it and the way it is reported, especially by school newspapers.”
She said that in nearly every one of the 10 Tattler editions published this year, there has been a story about a school shooting somewhere. The final edition also includes a feature story titled, “Gun owners for gun control: The truth behind the controversial AR-15,” by Lee Schwartz, who writes about discovering her uncle has an AR-15 and then going on “a hunt to understand why my family owns guns and yet can call themselves supporters of gun control.”
Schrader worked primarily with another student Tattler editor, Sophia Saidi, to design the last page, and Schrader did the art work. She said the reaction at school has been mostly supportive, although people were a “a little surprised that we went there.”
“It’s not trying to insert the reader into a ‘create your own shooting simulation,’ ” she said. “It’s a way to attempt to depict this tragedy, to put it into words when we are all at a loss for words.”