On February 14, a terrible tragedy occurred where an armed terrorist entered Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, murdering 17 people and leaving 14 wounded. It was the topic that sparked the debate on gun control and how we should protect the schools from a tragedy. Unlike other horrific school shootings, students had enough and began to protest and demand change. Leading to a national school walkout on Mar. 14, where students across the country walked out of school for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 lives lost in the shooting. These events gave some of our own students a goal to put on an event to give awareness to the issue. So on Apr. 20, an event at Temescal Canyon High School was put on to bring awareness to the problem at hand.
Since mid-February, the group of students, led by Temescal Canyon High School senior Kiara Condit, organized a peaceful walk-out for Apr. 20. Before all that, the first open meeting occurred on Feb. 27, where students showed interest in helping the event. The students who wanted to participate filled up a classroom and crowded the hallways, showing everyone that teens care and want to do what they can to help. The meeting marked the start of “TC Never Forget.”
As the days went by, things started to set into motion. Those who were involved began to post on social media, speaking out and making papers to put around the school. Kiera kept in contact with all those who wanted to help, sending messages to inform others on meetings and anything that is going on. Many worked on continuing spreading the news, others went to help create a PSA to show on the school news, and get students and adults involved with the walk-out. Kiera, with the help of her peers, was able to make it all happen, by working with the school allowing for her to create a day where students can speak their thoughts without criticism or judgment and register to vote.
Finally, Apr. 20 arrived and the walk-out was well organized, as intended. Many students arrived, all coming to support the cause, which was to bring awareness to gun control laws and the importance of school safety. There were prepared speakers, all students who wanted to speak their minds, such as Hailey Campbell. After the prepared speeches, students were allowed and encouraged to use the open mic to express their feelings and thoughts. A number of students were able to speak to their peers and teachers, allowing their voices to be heard.
Many told stories of their lives and how they have never been in more fear for their lives when they’re at school. Others spoke about how the path to better gun control and actual change would be a long trip but a trip worth fighting for. One by one, students gained the courage to speak about their views on the issues, may it be “fewer guns in the America” or “more laws on guns,” each one was met with respect and support. In the end, students like Kiera and those who spoke up show that change is wanted and many will do what it takes to get it.