Are students finally getting a say in gov’t?

Are students finally getting a say in gov’t?

Kylee Watnick


Could it be time for students to raise their voice? That is what I hear adults everywhere saying. Finally, the children are speaking up and doing the work for them. At least, that is what appears to be happening.

According to its website, the March For Our Lives movement was started by students who were done putting up with the unsafe environment we live in today. In particular, the students want to put an end to school shootings. How can they possibly do that? Well, do not worry, gun-lovers and National Rifle Association (NRA) enthusiasts, they are not calling for the total removal of guns from the hands of all citizens. No, this is a simple call to action for policymakers all over the country: we want stricter gun regulation, and we want it now!

March For Our Lives has lived long in the hearts of its supporters, but it was really created in response to the Parkland, Florida shooting that occurred on Valentine’s Day of this year. Just four days after at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, junior Cameron Kasky announced the March For Our Lives would occur on March 24. Junior Alex Wind also joined the march efforts and began the “Never Again” campaign with four friends. Students everywhere began to voice their opinions. All across social media, people began creating slogans, artwork, and signage for the upcoming march. Interim Associate Director of the Whittier Scholars Program and Directer of College Writing Programs  Charles Eastman said, “Movements [like March For Our Lives] have come and gone, but this one feels different. You guys might actually change something.”

March For Our Lives is a movement created and run by students. However, this is not a youth-only movement. The petitions and proposals that have been sent to Congress have graced the hands of adults. Parents are letting their children go out and protest. Teachers and other adults are being vocal on their pro-gun control stances. Let us remember that there can be no policy change if the adults in Congress are not part of the movement. This is especially crucial because, according to its website, the goal of the movement is to “demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”

March 24, 2018 will forever be an important day in history. It is said that there has not been a youth-led protest this large since the Vietnam War era. Hundreds of thousands of people (anywhere from 200,000 to 850,000) attended the main march in Washington, D.C., which only had speakers that were of high school age or younger. This number does not even take into consideration the 700 or more sibling marches that occurred both across the nation and around the world. Everywhere, people were standing up for their beliefs. They spoke about gun control. They spoke about safety and security. Most of all, they talked about the impact of the Parkland shooting.

I agree that it is about time there was a movement like this one — peaceful, but unwavering protests for what is right. Rather than continuing to lose children to the incomprehensibly cruel fate of massive school shootings, Americans should do all they can to change the current state of gun safety. To some degree of speculation, the Constitution is outdated in its understanding of firearms. There are no longer state militia men who are being granted the right to bear arms in order to keep the federal government in check. Now, the common citizen can have their hands on a gun in just a few hours. This can be the kind of gun that can shoot bullets in quick succession and cause the death of 15 students and 3 teachers in just six minutes and twenty seconds. It is time that this age of mass murder come to an end. 

In the words of former President of the United States Barack Obama, “Keep at it. You’re leading us forward. Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.”