Students come together to oppose gun violence

When the most responsible adults in the room are also the youngest:

“The sad and terrifying reality is that another school shooting like Parkland will happen if we don’t take action now," said Sawyer Taylor-Arnold. “I hope that one day students won’t have to fear going to school because of gun violence. I hope that school becomes once again a place for education and promise instead of a terrifying gamble of safety. I hope that students in the future won’t know the pain and trauma that accompanies gun violence because we will have the regulation our country desperately needs.”

Taylor-Arnold is a junior at Asheville High School. She said she wanted to attend the Summit to learn more about gun violence and hear first-hand accounts of how it affected so many young people.

I am proud of these students, but also kind of angry. I'm angry that our lack of action on this issue made them feel the need to push for change. Angry that nothing of any substance has been done to limit the insanely easy access to deadly firearms, and that every (single) common-sense approach is viciously opposed by gun fetishists and the businesses that profit from them. Here are some of their ideas:

On Sunday, the students drafted the Students’ Bill of Rights for School Safety, voted on it and ratified it as a group. The document contains 14 action items aiming to protect students and teachers and prevent gun violence.

It offers solutions to the many issues students see in and out of school that give way to gun violence. The first three are:

1. Establish a school safety committee whose meetings are open to the public at every school equally composed of students, parents and faculty.

2. Provide immediate access to qualified counselors in safe spaces for students of all demographics at all levels of education.

3. Encourage all school personnel to foster positive relationships at all levels of education.

As students and teachers return home, it’s expected they will work with school districts and legislators to implement the document.

Jimmy McDowell, a JROTC teacher at Northampton County High School in Gaston, attended the Summit and helped monitor the student-led activities. He said he and one of his students will make a presentation about their experience and the Students’ Bill of Rights to the school board next week.

It's a great start. But again, these things should have already been implemented.

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