Student recited a passionate spoken word poem that shook up the crowd, moving them to literally motion towards him excitedly, jumping and cheering after each thoughtful rhyme. Some of his words were, “too much and we have been trying, surrounded by violence but we will not sit here in silence, people are dying, I think that it is time to change our mindset, I am not lying, we will do it our way.”
Video and Story By Taylor Jacobs
The students of Jamaica high school flooded the entrance and steps of their school on March 14, overwhelmingly outnumbering Administration with posters and prepared speeches. This is one of many schools nationwide that participated that day in the school walkout event for 17 minutes of silence in observation of the 17 lives lost in the Parkland, FL school shooting on 14 Feb.
They were extremely passionate about what they feel is a complete lack of seriousness for this issue on the government’s behalf. The class co-president Diavian Superville, forcefully stated in her speech, “I am tired of this happening, why do we have to protest to feel safe at our schools? That should be a given.”
Jamaica high school happens to be a gated school and has metal detector screening upon entry. Parental Administrator Roger Ersten said, “This is one of the benefits of this school that is unlike a lot of other’s so students are able to be a little more protected to even participate in something of this nature.” He went on to say that the metal detectors also are a major necessity because “unfortunately right now this is our reality.”
Superville took the angle that students also should be more aware and sympathetic to one another’s mental health. While reassuring some of the skepticism to her statement she said “It is not an excuse whatsoever but if you see someone is down, ask them how they are doing. Just help and be nice to each other.”
In addition to the numerous school shootings that have occurred, death rates due to gun violence on a whole make up about 60 percent of the homicide rate in the United States according to the 2016 article by the BBC, Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence.
The article also notes that just three years ago there have been 60 plus school shootings and 372 mass shootings and as of late the numbers are rapidly increasing.
Though the March for Our Lives group argues that this is a school safety issue over a political issue, gun laws are a popular topic in politics that fuels partisan debates, especially after these incidents, occur. One side of the debate takes the position that guns alone are not responsible for the acts of violence but rather the people that use them. The other side of the argument says that essentially any persons looking to purchase a gun should go through more of an extensive background check.
In two Google Trends maps, one graph the number of states that have searched google for “gun control” versus “gun shops” over the past year and the other shows the same graph after the Stoneman Douglas shooting. It reveals that after the shooting the majority of states were searching gun control over gun shops, a completely opposite result of prior shootings where most people would be more inclined to purchase guns.