By: Olivia Wile
Twitter: o_wile Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether interrupting political figure and Florida Senator Florida Marco Rubio on national television, lying down in front of the White House, or participating in nationwide protests, the youth demands to be heard.
The recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Wednesday, Feb. 14 has sparked a fire that just can’t be extinguished. According to www.gunviolencearchive.org, there have been 30 school shootings in 2018 alone, though some dispute the definition of school shootings. The 17 deaths and 15 injuries as a result of this latest mass shooting, however, has been enough to ignite action.
“I’m saddened that it took this as a catalyst,” stated Professor of Communication at the University of Findlay Dr. Diana Montague.
Montague explains that though she is saddened by the events in Parkland, she feels empowered by the youth rallying together.
“I’m horrified that public officials are treating this more like a political issue rather than safety,” said Montague. “[I’m] frustrated and sad, but invigorated by kids not being cowed by people in power.”
In fact survivors of the Parkland shooting have organized into a group called March for our lives and plan a nationwide protest on March 24. The point of the protest is to demand that their lives and safety become a priority,” according to the website marchforourlives.com.
The Women’s March Youth EMPOWER group is also calling for a national school walk out on March 14 at 10 a.m. “to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence,” according to the website actionnetwork.org.
UF Freshman Jessica Winslow says though she commends students for taking action, she doesn’t feel they should have to worry in the first place.
“Props to them for putting themselves out there and voicing their opinions,” said Winslow. “But students shouldn’t have to worry about gun laws.”
Junior Physical Therapy Student Alex Matthews has a different opinion on the protests.
“I think it’s good that the nation’s voice is being heard, but do I necessarily agree with how they’re doing it, I’m not sure yet,” said Matthews. “I mean if it’s going to get the job done, then go for it.”
Sophomore Andrew Gray agrees with Matthews in being unsure about how effective the protests will be.
“I don’t think they know how hard it is to get guns banned and how hard it’s going to be,” said Gray. “I don’t think they understand the backlash that’s going to happen if they get guns banned.”
Being an educator who did not go into the profession with the thought of having to protect her classroom from school shooters, Montague sees the student movements a little differently than Matthews and Gray.
“They are up there standing up against powerful people who aren’t doing anything. They are strong,” said Montague. “That gives me hope that maybe something will make it a little safer.”
Montague advises UF students who want to have their own voices heard to turn to campus media outlets.
“I think the first place to start is with campus media. If you want action, you need to get messages out,” explained Montague, “rather campus media or local representatives.”