Dear Adults and People of Great Power,
I write to you today to let you know what has been going on in my world over the last few weeks. A great amount of things have happened, one of which has struck fear into the hearts of millions of students in the United States. Another school massacre, this one taking 17 lives of people who barely lived.
On Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, I was given the immense task of getting in contact with a few students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to interview them on the recovery process of a school shooting for my high school newspaper publication for our spread on gun violence. So far, I have been unsuccessful in this task.
On the other hand, this got me thinking about a question my journalism teacher asked our group: "Do you feel safe coming to school everyday?"
The answer was a unanimous NO. Less than six hours later, a threat was found on a boys bathroom wall. The weight this brought to me was astounding; you're always told by adults this won't happen here. Well, I want to drop a bit of truth -- it could and it has. While the threat was unfounded, it still brought fear to students and parents.
When you go to school, you shouldn't have to think "are we next?" Us students are the future, but everyday we live in fear of being taken away too early from a bullet that hits us in one of the places we should feel undeniably safe.
I want to pose a question to you: Should we have to live in fear? Is there something you can do to make sure we aren't next?
If I were to answer these questions, here's how I would answer. No, we shouldn't have to live in fear of dying in the place where we go to learn. I would answer, yes, there is something you can do to stop this.
While there is no answer as to how to stop this from happening, there are some things you can do to make it harder. Stricter gun laws and background checks would help some but the real thing that needs to change is the stigma behind guns. Guns should not be seen as a way to harm another human being, but as a way to protect yourself in extreme situations. However, an assault rifle seems like overkill for that when a simple handgun would do the trick.
I want to feel safe when I leave for school every morning, not terrified. I should be able to learn without the fear of bullets piercing my body or my friends'. I shouldn't have to assess every classroom I walk into looking for places to hide or items to throw at an intruder. I should go to school to learn how to write an essay, how to find the area or perimeter of a room, and how to be a good reported. I don't want to be another statistic on some list, but that seems like a reality.
And if it would come down to saving myself or my best friend, I would save my best friend in a heartbeat, but I shouldn't have to think like that -- I can't. If I do, I would never be able to face the day.
So I ask you the adults, the current leaders, to find it in your heart to say NEVER AGAIN.
NEVER AGAIN will a child lose their life to a bullet in the classroom. NEVER AGAIN will a parent weep over the corpse of their son or daughter. NEVER AGAIN will a student mourn the loss of a friend, classmate, teacher, or coach. NEVER AGAIN will a child be able to inflict so much pain and damage. NEVER AGAIN will I let this happen because I can assure you if you won't, then we will!
WE WILL vote you out of power. WE WILL lead marches. WE WILL stage walkouts. WE WILL call out your B.S. WE WILL be the ones to bring forth change. WE ARE THE FUTURE of this nation and WE WILL take it back before something happens again!
A student with the will to make things happen.