Rampage

Students Work to Affect Change Following Parkland HS Shooting

Sophomore+Sarah+Derr+and+junior+Sophie+Derr+join+protesters+in+front+of+the+White+House.
Sophomore Sarah Derr and junior Sophie Derr join protesters in front of the White House.

Sophomore Sarah Derr and junior Sophie Derr join protesters in front of the White House.

Sophomore Sarah Derr and junior Sophie Derr join protesters in front of the White House.

Rebecca Pujo, Editor-In-Chief

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Following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Fla., students and adults have begun demanding action and fighting to increase gun control legislation to prevent another horrific school shooting.

Survivors of the shooting formed a group called “Never Again MSD,” with students speaking out in interviews and organizing rallies. More recently, the group came to Washington D.C. to speak to politicians in order to create change moving forward. There will be a national March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. March 24, and there have been and will be similar events occurring in different cities worldwide. There was also a National School Walkout held March 14 that many MCPS students participated in.

“”March For Our Lives’ is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar,” according to the organization’s website.

In addition to mobilizing for rallies and marches, #NeverAgain and #NeverAgainMSD have also become social media movements, with many celebrities and public figures joining in. Many companies have also cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA), including MetLife, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Symantec. Politicians are also being urged to stop accepting NRA money.

As for political activism, much of the Never Again MSD movement is based on teenagers and young people coming together to create change.

“You guys have unleashed a revolution in the country against political control of the NRA politicians,” Md. Congressman Jamie Raskin said.

Raskin hosted a group of survivors of the MSD shooting and alumni of MSD at Montgomery Blair HS Feb. 26 for a town hall meeting. The Parkland students, as well as student leaders from various MCPS high schools, came together to discuss how students can create political change.

“Just keep going, don’t stop, we’re not stopping,” MSD alum Kaylyn “Pippy” Pipitone (“16) said. “We’re full force into this and I hope you guys are too.”

Ted Deutch, member of the House of Representatives for the 22nd congressional district of Fla. which includes Parkland, was also at the meeting and discussed the importance of students’ involvement in creating change.

“It’s amazing to see the way the students of Montgomery County connected with students from Parkland. That kind of connection is something that is going to help build a movement,” Deutch said.

While the Never Again movement is gaining momentum, there are still questions in terms of lasting policy making. The Florida Senate recently signed Senate Bill 7026, also known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, which added restrictions on age and mental health history when purchasing a firearm, among other measures. President Trump also suggested the possibility of arming certain teachers with guns to protect against shootings which garnered a mixed response.

Going forward, students nationwide are continuing to demand action, especially pertaining to increased gun control and school safety and the banning of assault rifles. Students are continuing to voice opinions on social media, and according to Washington.org, 500,000 people are expected to attend the March for Our Lives.

“This is an issue that has only gotten worse with time and no one in power seems to care,” senior Julie Gage said. “MSD was really the last straw for me and many others who have spent our childhoods watching politicians send thoughts and prayers instead of solutions.”

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Students Work to Affect Change Following Parkland HS Shooting