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What the #NeverAgain Movement Means to American Students

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What the #NeverAgain Movement Means to American Students

Maddie Turco

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In current news, many students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who were survivors of the largest school shooting in American history are speaking out to politicians and voters, begging for change. They have coined the phrase “Never Again” as their battle cry.  Most of them are ineligible to vote so they rely on other ways to make themselves heard. For example, there was a national walkout on March 14th (another one is scheduled for April 20th) and a March on Washington on March 24th. The walkouts were for students to get up and walk out of their schools for 17 minutes (one minute for each Parkland victim) to stand with Parkland and push lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws. Many students hesitated to walk out due to  fear of peer and administrative reactions to their political views. However, after these demonstrations of civil disobedience, the overwhelming majority of participants felt strengthened. In fact, one of Thales Academy’s 8th graders who participated in the March says she felt, “uplifted,” and the turnouts made her believe that maybe politicians will listen and make it safer for students everywhere to attend school.

 

While public schools could not ban students from walking out due to a Supreme Court ruling in 1969 that stated that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” private schools can impart consequences on students as far as their respective attendance policies allow.

 

Some discussion has aroused about whether gun owners should participate in this movement. One of the most active Parkland students, Emma Gonzalez,  has responded to this by saying that, “… all we are aiming for here is stricter gun laws that make it harder for people to get guns… and the removal of Military Grade Weapons from Civilian Society.” These students are not trying to remove all guns from American society. They understand that not every person with a gun is misusing it. They are fighting because, according to Gonzalez, it is easier to buy a gun than get a driver’s license. They are fighting because they feel that semi-automatic weapons are solely weapons of war and do not need to be in the hands of civilians.

 

For the majority of students in America, the Parkland survivors are paving a path to make sure that their goal of #NeverAgain is truly achieved. Even though everyone has a different opinion about the way to make schools safer from gun violence, all of America agrees that no child should ever be in an active shooter situation in his or her school.

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What the #NeverAgain Movement Means to American Students