Students fight to make schools safe


Tribune News Service

CHANGE. On Feb. 19, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas organized a lie-in in front of the White House. The group, Teens for Gun Reform, was surrounded by supporters with signs. Despite the President not being present, it was a major event asking lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws.

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14 does not signal the end of a trend, but students are determined to make it so. The shooting resulted in 17 deaths of staff and students.

After the Parkland shooting, there have been dozens of threats on school property, forcing lockdowns or even arrests. People have been found with guns on school campuses, threatening to shoot up the school, and one case lead to a 13-year-old being arrested.

Between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20, there have been 20 episodes of threats and weapons at schools in the United States.

“Hearing about the Parkland shooting was shocking and scary. It’s sickening to know that after all this time, we still don’t have effective gun control or regulations.

“I do think America has become desensitized because we barely bat an eye at these tragedies and only the most fatal make national news,” said Claire Minton, 11.

In Ohio, no permit (to buy), no registration, and no licensing is needed to buy a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. No background checks are necessary. The only permit required is to conceal and carry a handgun, but there is no extensive waiting period.

“Ohio has the ninth highest percentage of crime guns recovered that were originally purchased within the state,” according to

Since the shooting, student survivors have advocated for stricter gun laws. The shooter at their school was welding an assault-style weapon as his prior mental health treatment did not have to be reported due to Florida gun laws.

Florida’s House of Representatives voted down 36 to 71 to hear a bill ban sales of assault weapons and high capacity magazines on Feb. 20, days after the shooting. Student survivors were present for the vote.

“School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing,” according to March for Our Lives mission statement.

So far, President Donald Trump has expressed interest in drafting a minimum age to buy a gun, but no radical change can be expected. He has directed the Justice Department to draft a ban on bump stocks, which the shooter in Las Vegas, Nevada used.

Bump stocks attach to semiautomatic guns and can increase firing to 100 rounds in seven seconds.

Five student survivors of the Parkland shooting have been leading the call to do a national march and to take action against lenient gun control laws in order to protect students and teachers. Social media as well as news media have been used to spread the word.

“I want to see more people like Emma Gonzalez speaking up about gun control. I think she’s really brave for sharing her traumatic experience, and it’s unfortunate that it’s come to that in the first place,” Minton said.

Gonzalez was the student who spoke at an anti-gun rally in Ft. Lauderdale days after the shooting. Her speech went viral and her name became a trending hashtag.

The students, with Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group, are planning to hold a national school walkout on March 14. They encourage students, staff, administration, etc. to all walk out at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, a minute for each victim of the school shooting at Parkland.

On March 24, people will take to the streets to protest the inaction of gun control and how it creates unsafe school environments. Many cities over the nation, including the capital Washington D.C. are holding a march.