Gun Violence in School: What We The Students Can and Are Doing
Author Dorcas Olatunji
The early morning sky bled orange and yellow with a blue overcast. The trees seemed to anticipate what was to come. The frigid air resounded, singing the tune of tomorrow, as a nationwide change would soon take place. More than seventeen students piled into school with posters to honor those who died on February 14, just this past month. In the interim, students took action against gun violence to protect their peers and to finally win overdue justice for victims who lost their lives not only in the Parkland shooting, but in past school shootings as well.
This walkout was student led and allowed by the CSW/CAB administration. Cutting 2nd block short, students went back to homeroom and were allowed to walkout if they chose. Though this initiative was coordinated together in short time, the result was tremendous impact. Senior Lucy Zuo and others lead the initiative at CSW and connected with students from other schools who supported the same walkout initiative. Some of those included Erin [Michalcewicz], Hannah and Emma [Miller], and rest of CAB student council. Their efforts were also widely spread through social media as the National Walkout was a large priority. Lucy, interviewed by Ben Snyder, stated, “we created a tiny network. There was one [person] from Newark Charter, one from Caravel, one from Conrad, and then me. We wanted to [take action] in DE, [even though] it was just the four of us. So we started pulling people in.”
At the beginning the walkout, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and 11th District Senator Bryan Townsend spoke on the neglect from their generation and how important it is to remember this event. Mayor Purzycki stated, "You can’t allow this to be in the forgotten. You can't say that this is normal. We [my generation] have done a lot but poorly on this. We have got to do better." His words in favor of change and advocacy brought warmth to the cold weather as hundreds of students stood outside in the cold.
Seventeen minutes were dedicated to the shooting victims after the words of the Mayor Purzycki and Senator Townsend, thirty seconds of words honoring each of the heroes who lost their lives and thirty seconds of silence. During those seconds of silence, some students bowed their heads, and some raised their heads to the skies, thinking of the angels who lost their lives too soon. Words of fury and passion ringed the rims of the students with posters' mouths as they demanded change in school safety and legislation.
Lucy Zuo recalled, “We did so much more as a whole community than we would have done with one student from each school trying to do it separately. Definitely think about in the short term in terms of this protest right now, but also think about how it applies in the long term.”
As the students walked out, conversation filled the halls as they prepared to take the first step as other students their age nationally would as well. As the names of each victim were later read, the students huddled around each other for comfort from the bleak weather and the reality of how quickly a life could be taken. If students go to school with the fear of not returning home and not seeing their friends and family again, there is something seriously wrong here. A hypothetical bill was brought up by Senator Townsend, "This happens way too often. [We must] make up for the shortcomings [and] make progress that is possible. [We must] remain committed. [There is a] bill in place to ban assault weapons in Delaware; it will hopefully be filed in the next month."
These remarks caused the students to clap and cheer, their hearts anticipating the long overdue action. The next step is a March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and one in Delaware on March 24. This is not a document to be set aside or ignored. Change needs to happen, or no progress will take place. We the students want to "STOP THE SILENCE [and] END THE VIOLENCE.” We will not stop until justice is served; we won't allow our peers to die too soon because we did not do anything about it. We, the younger generation, can empower the older generation to take the action they have delayed too long for. Enough is enough.