by Alaa Wedaa

On February 14th, the second fire alarm of the day was sounded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students, although confused, evacuated just as they had earlier that day for a drill. Suddenly, screams erupted and students ran in all different directions, not knowing what was going on. Many students thought it was an active shooter drill and were not panicked; it wasn’t until they witnessed their teachers and peers being viscously murdered in front of their eyes did they know it was not a drill.

In response to this tragedy, Park View students are taking action. Tomorrow, March 14th, one month after the shooting in Parkland, we will stand in solidarity with the survivors #ParkStrong. The school schedule will be moved so that Patriot Time is from 9:50-10:25 am. At 10:00 am, students will leave class and gather around the flagpole. We will take part in the National Walkout starting at 10:05 am. 17 minutes of silence for 17 dead. For every minute that passes, a class officer will place a rose by the flagpole totaling 17 roses. After those 17 minutes, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Muslim Student Association are said to be engaging in a prayer circle around the rock, which everyone is welcomed to join. There will be no consequences, since time has been allotted for this activity.

The school’s stance, in accordance with the stance of Loudoun County, to remain relatively apolitical. If any posters with inappropriate or inconsiderate words are present, they will be asked to be taken down by the administration. Since the school colors for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are burgundy, maroon, and silver, students and staff are encouraged to wear those colors to show support for the school. Since the school cannot encourage any action, the students in the Student Council Association class have taken initiative and will also be passing around burgundy and silver ribbons during the walkout.  

Please, take action. Without pressure from future voters, the government will not do anything. As we have often seen, gun control is the last thing some people want to implement. Even though it seems like a joke on twitter, the current government is willing to do almost anything to avoid applying common sense gun laws. From arming teachers, to inserting metal detectors and adding armed security, ideas for our safety in school is turning it into a prison rather than a learning environment. It seems to me like our lives are valued less than guns.

17 members of Parkland’s student body and faculty died. The survivors took to twitter and other social media platforms to express their pain, rage, and ideas of change using #NeverAgain to hopefully prevent another tragedy similar to theirs. These students refused to let the uproar die down. There were marches, walkouts, and more. All this for common sense to become a law.  

I shouldn’t even have to be writing this article right now. The idea of a school shooting should not be normal in the U.S. Gun control should be the last thing on my mind. I should be worrying about my next quiz in math or AP World, not worrying for my future in what is supposed to be a safe place, nor should I be worrying about my siblings or my mom, who works at a school. I should not even have to worry about my dad or anybody else because somebody with a gun might get angry and kill them. But I do have to worry, and that is why I will protest. That is why I will do whatever is necessary to make my voice heard.

I value my life, and my life shouldn’t be less important than a gun. The current presidential administration, led by Donald Trump and Mike Pence, would rather arm teachers and turn school into a prison than to change how easy it is to get a gun. Since the Parkland shooting, many more school shootings have occurred, including one where a teacher fired a gun in school. Now not only do I have to worry about a student shooter, I also have to worry about a teacher shooter. This is outrageous. Giving more people guns will not stop or by any means reduce gun violence.

My life is not meaningless. I will protest until my voice is heard, and if it’s not, lawmakers need to know that I will do my best to vote out the people who refuse to protect my life with common sense gun laws.

Whether you are republican or democrat, pro-gun control or anti-gun control, we should all be able to come together under a banner of support for school safety. Announce your support for school safety by participating in the walkout on March 14th.