The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School helped changing the rhetoric around school shootings and gun control, and have succeeded in keeping the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, in the news for much longer than the media’s usual attention span.
With the March for Our Lives and school walkouts, student activists worked to to turn their vocal protest of gun violence into a sustained movement.
Their activism got us wondering what other students were saying about school shootings and gun control. So we asked. We began a survey two weeks after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, and within a few days, we had heard from 1,635 students around the world.
We heard from kids who wanted to arm teachers. We heard from a lot more who hated the idea. We heard about the drills in which students learn how to respond to an active shooter on their campus. We heard from a lot of young men and women counting down the days until they could vote.
And we heard from Parkland students directly about why adults should take this wave of student activism seriously.
“Why should they listen to me? Because I had to sit in a classroom, in the dark, next to 20 of my friends, watching us all text our parents that we loved them. Because we didn’t know if a shooter was going to come up to our door,” student activist Jaclyn Corin told me. “That’s why I’m credible.”
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