How has Orcutt reacted to recent school shootings and increasing gun violence?


In light of the U.S.’s increasing body count from mass shootings, schools are now expected to make drastic changes for student and staff safety. Throughout the years, students and parents have become increasingly concerned about armed intruders and gun violence in the classroom setting. The political climate surrounding the issue, becoming more volatile as the number of shootings in surrounding areas increases.

During the week of November 18th, there was a ‘non credible’ shooting threat at the Orcutt Junior High School (OJHS) campus. Students and parents were left confused when the OJHS’s prinicpal, Kelly Osborne, neglected to inform guardians of the possible danger, choosing instead to notify parents after the fact. No shooting came to pass, but parents were still outraged at the principal’s decision, claiming principal Osborne took away their right to decide whether or not their children should go to school.

Osborne’s response to the allegations was a strongly worded email to parents after school in which she described how the incident was handled with ‘every precaution.’ She also addressed the ‘rumors’ and ‘speculations’ circulating without giving concerned parents any facts of the matter. Osborne ended the email with the sentence, “If there were ever a threat to student safety, you would all be notified immediately.” The email only fanned the flames of parents’ indignation and concern, as they were not alerted to the original threat – credible or otherwise.

At Orcutt Academy, there have not been any recent gun violence threats, but students have been involved in walkouts, protests, and campaigns for gun control in past years. The most successful occurred two years ago, but has for the most part been subsequently forgotten.

Organizations like ‘Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley’ have made efforts, but only under their general anti-violence message. There has been a lack of change in Orcutt despite the obvious motivation, and in light of recent local events it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect Orcutt parents and students to lead that change.