“Oh, there was another school shooting.” These words have become a regular sound to many ears. However, this movement is not slipping silently into the past (as most do). A new movement has begun following the Parkland, Florida shooting. The March For Our Lives, the #NeverAgain movement, and the 17 minutes of walkout silence are just a few of the many things that have started to help end school shootings.
The cold, hard truth is that school shootings are continuing to become more and more regular in the U.S. Since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012, when 20 children as young as six years old were killed, there have been more than 200 school shootings (The New York Times, 2018). Not only has America had an alarming amount of school shootings, but it has also had more gun-related deaths than any other developed nation. For Americans to get their hands on a gun, in many cases they don’t even need their ID or a background check (Giffords Law Center, 2018). This enormous problem has become much more apparent through the recent Florida shooting.
A main factor that has brought light to the Parkland shooting is the fact that youths and minors are speaking up. From 6th graders who are leading their peers during walkouts to high schoolers and college students who are calling people to action, people in this generation are making their voices heard. Emma Gonzales, a teen who attended Stoneman Douglas High School and spoke up after the shooting, is a major leader of this new movement. She and other students started the #NeverAgain movement, and she has lead and spoken at many marches, walkouts, and rallies, including the powerful March for our Lives in Washington D.C. She is speaking up instead of letting the matter slip silently into the past only a tragic few weeks later. These young people are not only speaking up, but keeping this dire issue of gun violence in the spotlight until a change occurs.
On March 14th at 10 AM, thousands and thousands of students all over the world got up, put their words to action, and walked straight out of school. At some schools, this was a 17-minute event of silence, while at other schools speakers were brought in and students began to march. Whatever actions the students took, the purpose of this day was to honor the 17 students who lost their lives, much earlier than they deserved.
Following the walkout was the March for Our Lives. The march’s purpose was to bring attention to the fact that gun violence has gotten way out of control, honor the students who have lost their lives, and call for change. This movement is not for eliminating guns entirely, but rather for “common sense” gun laws. It is a call for banning high capacity magazines and requiring mandatory background checks on all gun sales (private sales included).
School shootings need to stop. Students want to be safe while learning. Families want their children to be safe while at school, and teachers want to be safe while working. To make this happen, Americans across the nation are proposing a change; until then, the words “Oh, there was another school shooting” will continue to be commonplace.