Students March, Use Social Media To Combat School Shootings

Paul Comauex, Features Reporter

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Since the tragic Valentine’s Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 people – including high school students – dead, teenagers from Florida to California have mobilized in different ways to make the places they go to school safe spaces to learn.

Rather than be content with only the “thoughts and prayers” sent by elected and civic leaders to students following the tragedy, students at Stoneman Douglas began using social media and TV interviews to speak out against gun laws that allowed a former student to own weapons used to terrorize their school. Through student marches, protests and calls to their state legislators, the Parkland students advocated for changes in laws to make their schools safer.

Surviving students and parents of victims marched on their state capitol of Tallahassee, Fla. to push their state’s leader, Gov. Rick Scott (R) to change his longtime stance toward guns that had earned him an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, a pro-gun advocacy group. These students’ efforts were a success. As a result, Parkland students like Emma Gonzalez have become national leaders. Since the shooting, Gonzalez has gained more than 1.2 million Twitter followers.

   

Before the end of this month, Florida legislators passed a bill that would raise the legal age to purchase guns in that state from age 18 to 21, ban the sale or possession of bump fire stock (which would allow a semiautomatic weapon to fire like an automatic weapon), more of an ability for law enforcement to seize a weapon from someone who is mentally unfit, additional funding for armed school officers. It now waits for the governor to reject it or sign it into law.

Student activism hasn’t been restricted to Florida.

Students of the Stockton Unified School District also marched to raise the issue of gun violence in and around their high schools. The schools that marched included Edison, Stagg, and Lincoln High School. Unfortunately, this activity led to vandalism and the destruction of public property. Based on comments posted on social media debated the value of the march.

There are two additional dates set as national days of action to protest school shootings and gun violence. Those days are Wednesday, March 14 and Saturday, March 24.

According to a March 2 article on TIME magazine’s Web site, March 14, the Women’s March’s Youth EMPOWER group is encouraging students, educators and administrators across the nation to walk out of class for 17 minutes – one minute for every person killed at the Stoneman Douglas. The purpose of the “Enough” March 14 event – one month after the Valentine’s Day tragedy – is to, according to the organizer’s Web site, is to put lawmakers in Washington DC on notice.

“We are not safe at school,” said the Web site post. “We are not safe in our cities and towns. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence.”

Parkland students like Cameron Kasky have joined with other gun-control group for the national #MarchForOurLives, an event scheduled for March 24 in Washington to call for an end to “gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today.” A “sibling” or associated event will be held at 425 N. El Dorado Street, in Stockton.

 

For more info about “Enough”, click the link below

https://www.actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/enough-national-school-walkout

 

For more info about #MarchForOurLives, click the link below

https://event.marchforourlives.com/event/march-our-lives-events/9071/signup/?source=&akid=&zip=

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