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Students walk in solidarity against gun violence

Clara Fernandes

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Valentine’s day, 2018. The day of love became the day America’s hearts stopped in silence as they heard about the seventeen young students who had been shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD). This was not the first mass shooting America has experienced in recent years, but youth across the country have this time quickly risen up to voice their opinions. Students all over the nation gathered in an attempt to spur the government into ending their silence on America’s recurring gun violence problem.

Shortly after the tragic event, students from across the country and other parts of the world came together through social media and orchestrated marches and events to protest America’s current gun control laws. With the help of the Women’s March Youth organization, students organized a walkout on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting. Students across the nation left their classes at 10 a.m. and spent 17 minutes paying their respects to the victims and voicing their opinions on gun control.

“There were kids who were younger than me,” said senior Amber Lee. “Some were freshmen and sophomores who had hobbies they loved and still had their whole lives ahead of them. And those stories made their tragedy seem more real, made it seem like they were more than just numbers.”

When the time came, students at Lynbrook left their second period classes one by one to partake in this country-wide demonstration advocating for stronger gun control.  Those who walked out were at risk of incurring zeros, absences or cuts for walking out of class, yet even Lynbrook’s academically oriented students walked out in protest. The emotional student speeches resonated with the teary-eyed crowd.

I feel like this national walkout is definitely something that is going to go down in history books. We should all realize that we have a voice and our thoughts do matter.”

— Selena Jeong, junior

Public speakers from the San Jose community such as Shir Hadash, board member of Santa Clara County, and Reverends from the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches nearby also attended the walkout to boost students’ voices and encourage them to take action. There have been more school shootings since Parkland, the most recent at Great Mills High School in Maryland, which students have actively protested against. However, to them, the  government still has not taken enough action in response to their voices. State representatives have encouraged students to register to vote, taking the first step toward having their voices heard by the American government. The American government has also expressed intentions of wanting to arm school teachers in the years to come, an idea to which both students and teachers have mixed opinions.

“I don’t think guns are necessary in schools, as adding this variable into a classroom is just fraught with complex possible problems,” said school principal Maria Jackson. “I want Lynbrook to always be a safe place for students, and I don’t think inviting guns on to campus would make it any safer than it already is.”

Lynbrook students built a memorial with information about each of the seventeen Parkland victims to demonstrate their respect for each individual life that has been lost.  Toward the end of the walkout, students gathered around the memorial, decorated with flowers, candles and gifts, and sang “This Little Light of Mine”. State representatives encourage students to register to vote, taking the first step toward having their voices heard by the American government.

“The youngest age group that votes has the lowest voter turnout, which is why certain issues that affect young people are never brought up in politics and issues that affect older people are always prioritized, “ said Lee. “I really hope that through the walkout, the women’s march movement and Trump’s presidency, all these issues push young people to vote. That way we actually have a chance to improve the future of education.”

Although the number of protesters against gun violence has drastically increased, America has yet to see a decrease in school shootings. So far, there have been nine school shootings in our country since Parkland. The young people of America will continue to demand safety in schools and public spaces to ensure a safer environment for future generations.

 

Watch our documentary that covers the #NeverAgain movement and the rise of youth in the Bay Area, including the walkout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br0qxkFA-WA&feature=youtu.be

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School
Students walk in solidarity against gun violence