Photo by Steve Frost

The only school shooting that has occurred in Amarillo was nearly 20 years ago at Palo Duro High school. Thankfully for the ones present there were no casualties and only a few were injured. Even though it was a long time ago, no one who was there can forget the terrifying and hopeless experience. 

The shooting happened on a September in 1992. Back then the school had a total of about 1,400 students, where now it has about 1,800. The crime was done by the then 17 year old Randy Earl Mathews, who injured six students, one of which was trampled by the rush of frightened student. This incident  occurred early in the morning during a pep rally, now held after school, where many students had gathered. While it's believed Mathews attacked due to bullying or a confrontation with another student, it still remains unclear what his motivation was.

Not surprisingly, the news of this incident is unknown to many current students who attend PD and to the many new teachers it received this year after many retired. Veronica, 15, is a current Palo Duro Sophomore who did know about the shooting. She states, however, that it shouldn't be a reason to label PD as a bad school, "it was a long time ago," she said, "and PD is a good school; it's got as many nice and smart students as it has bad ones." Isaias,14, who is a freshman says that the fact the school had a shooting surprised him, "I still like this school, I wouldn't want to go to another."

What everyone is aware of is the new regulations in school safety that have happened since that day.Every school has at least one permanent officer on campus in the Amarillo Independent School District area who is constantly on watch. There are many differences from 1992 to 2014. Students are now encouraged to contact Amarillo Crime Stoppers if they have important information about crimes. Also, back then there was less ways to communicate to other people who were in a different place, so many of the ones inside, like the faculty and students hiding, had no idea what was going on, as well as the people outside like their parents. 

All the changes are just to keep students safe, however, so that if another case like this happens there can be less if any damage. A few cases around the US of school shootings have made the news, prompting many school districts and parents to find more ways to keep their students safe and hopefully put an end to these violent crimes.