Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence in Schools

The views in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the views of Wayne Valley or the Smoke Signals Staff

Guns. Violence. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness versus the right to bear arms. It is a debate that has been going on for years. A few weeks ago, the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida brought this discussion to a whole new level in the eyes of congressmen, politicians, and many others around the country. As of February 14, this incident was recorded as the seventeenth shooting at a public school this year. After the constant arguments between Republicans and Democrats, one potential solution from our President was to allow teachers to carry guns. But what if a student managed to possess that gun? Or, what if that gun was used against another student, for disciplinary reasons? Everyday, parents send their children off to schools, trusting that there will be complete protection and that their children will be kept safe. A school shooting should never end with more guns in schools.

What would happen if you got the call that someone you knew was killed because of a shooting in a school? How would you react if it was someone you loved? Would you walk into school the next day, thinking that everything was back to normal, or would you take action to try and stop a future attack? Since the day of the Florida shooting, there have been at least twelve reports of other incidents involving school threats, as well as weapons on campuses across the country. While the decision about gun control remains a topic of debate, the children throughout the country have grown tired of waiting for their politicians to come up with a solution and have been taking actions into their own hands.

Survivors of the Florida school involved in the recent shooting have pushed for stricter gun laws, resulting in a call for a nationwide student walkout at 10:00 am on March 14, 2018 and the “March for Our Lives” in Washington DC, on March 24th. The goal of this movement is to put pressure on Congress to pass gun reform laws and make schools and all public places safer. Yet, even after the horrific event in Florida, there are some schools like Sayreville, NJ and Needville, Texas would not allow their students to proceed with the protest, claiming that any student participating in the planned walkout will be suspended. Meanwhile other schools will leave it to their students to decide. Would they rather remain in class at that time, or stand outside for 17 minutes, one minute for each of the people who lost their lives on February 14th?

As for me, I stood alongside my fellow Wayne Valley students on March 14th, not because I was told to do so, but, rather, because I care about the people around me. The time for adult debate is over. “We the Students” have rights and it is our turn to be heard. The real question is, where will you be?