Students call for action after recent series of school shootings

Category:  News
Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 at 6:01 PM
Students call for action after recent series of school shootings by Hannah McDonald
Photo: Sarah Cacchione

On March 20 in Maryland, a shooter entered Great Hills High School.

Before killed in an exchange of fire with a school resource officer, the shooter and student of that school injured a 14-year-old and killed a 17-year-old.

Just hours after this incident, Edinboro University hosted a walkout to support the end of gun violence in schools, Great Hills another in the troubling trend. 

The event, which was organized in concurrence with the March 14 national school walkouts, took place on March 20 as Edinboro was on spring break during the national date. 

When choosing a time, organizer and Edinboro student Abby Woodell looked to make it as soon as possible. 

“The professor for this class (the one at the same time as the walkout) actually said that she would be all for it, and I figured since it was like the first day we’ve gotten back together from spring break it would just be kind of good,” Woodell explained.

In an interview earlier this month with The Spectator, the social work major said she was inspired to take action after the events at Parkland High School in Florida, and when she saw the Women’s March was organizing the national walkout event, she knew that Edinboro must be a part of it. 

Nearly 200 signed up for the campus event online and around 50 showed up outside the Baron-Forness Library where the walk was beginning at 1 p.m. 

Prior to the group of advocates, faculty members and students doing a walk around the campus loop, Woodell addressed the crowd. 

“This is important for all the people who have been victims of school shootings and mass shootings since Columbine and over the past 20 years or so,” Woodell said. “I don’t think thoughts and prayers are working anymore. I also think that this is the time where action and policy change need to take effect,” she continued. 

Student Robin Barnes, a mother of four and grandmother to another four, participated and is looking for more action. “I think it’s going to take more than walking,” she said during the event. 

“This is an issue that has been going on in our country for too long and hasn’t had any resolution. My son is a high school student and his friends, and even him, they’re afraid. School should be a safe place. You should not have fear. They had a walkout at their school last week and three of the kids in my neighborhood wouldn’t participate. Not because they didn’t want to, because they were afraid of drive-by shootings,” she continued.

“We need to change it and this is just one small step...I think we have to really think about who we are electing, and if you’re not voting, I think you need to use your right to vote. And vote for people who want to make changes. That’s how it’s really going to happen.”

For now, it’s hard to see the political impact of these walks, as most elections are not until November of this year. But participants in the Edinboro walkout were hopeful that both political and personal change is on the horizon. 

“I don’t think that walkouts alone are enough to change views,” Brooke Mucha, a junior at Edinboro, said. “I think we need to see policy change too, which are what the walkouts are supposed to be inspiring. But, I think that it is just making the topic more known, even though it is very controversial [already]. I think it’s going to take time to see if this will have an impact or not. I’d like to think that it does.”

Hannah McDonald can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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