Reducing gun violence discussed at Stanford Medicine symposium

Frederick Owens
March 21, 2018

This, combined with the fact that there was very little organization, made it seem like the walkout was more of an opportunity for students to post on their social media about how great they were than to honor the Parkland victims or learn about steps forward that could be taken in order to prevent gun violence in the future.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, in the rear of O'Fallon Township High School Smiley campus, 600 S. Smiley St., roughly 50 students walked out of classes as a part of a national protest to support the 17 people who died as a result of a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., despite warnings from the plans by OTHS District 203 administration to issue disciplinary action.

A million students, from all ages and backgrounds, marched out of schools on March 14 in solidarity with the 17 victims of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on February 15.

A few days after the February 14th shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a "State for Gun Safety" initiative.

Johnson High School, in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on the East Side, had about 400 students participate in the walkout, according to Johnson Principal Micheal Thompson. "Tomorrow's leaders and innovators deserve the chance to inspire, create and grow without being threatened by violence, guns or any other limiting factors". "We didn't see it as being political ... but rather an obligation from our Catholic identity that we need to pray for those who have been affected by violence, in particular school violence, and just to show our support of peace efforts".

ConVal students who wanted to participate planned to walk out of the building and remain outside on school grounds for 17 minutes, but Anna C. McGuiness, a 17-year-old junior, and three other students organized a bigger movement that took students off school grounds. "And everybody who tries to call the shot for us, we respectfully say, 'That's not what this is about'".

She added that despite her daughter being uncomfortable at the town hall, she was not allowed to leave. The insolence that comes with yelling about your love of guns while others mourn the loss of 17 people killed by an assault rifle is disheartening, and frankly disgusting. "I will be leading a delegation of nine students who have all been affected by gun violence ranging from age 13-18", expressed Jackson.

"Our students have every right to participate", he said.

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Those words echoed the chants heard at schools around the nation last week.

"We are closer than ever before to meaningful reform, because of you".

But the students insist their aim isn't partisan: "We're just trying to make sure that morally just people are running this country", Stoneman Douglas senior Ryan Deitsch told the AP.

"We're looking at years of rehabilitative therapy many times".

Bai resides in NY as a self proclaimed subway surfer and says she never once thought guns were necessary in the school environment.

"When he came out with those statements, he didn't contact us", Cutler said.

The Poughkeepsie event is sponsored and organized by Steven Spicer, who leads Black Lives Matter in Kingston. "Our schools are unsafe because of gun violence", he said.

"And then for those kids who do get back to a normal physiological function, we're still dealing with the impact on their mental health".

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