Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 11
'This Could Happen Anywhere'
As throngs of cameras and satellite trucks descended on their city, Stoneman Douglas students
started to ask tough questions of the adults responsible for protecting them.
"I want them to know this could happen anywhere," said Michala Christie, 14, a freshman who
heard the gunman banging loudly on the locked
door of her geography classroom as she waited inside. Two of her friends were killed: Alex Schachter,
14, a trombone player who played alongside her in
the school's band, and Gina Montalto, 14, who was a
member of the marching band's winter guard.
A vocal group of teenagers, joined by Runcie and
Israel, began calling on lawmakers to rethink gun
laws. They stood before countless TV cameras to
make impassioned pleas and they barraged social
media, some of them tweeting directly to President
Donald Trump. Organizing under the name #NeverAgain, they organized calls for nationwide protests
and a rally in Washington.
David Hogg, 17, recorded his classmate's thoughts
about guns on his cellphone as they sat locked in a
darkened classroom during the shooting.
"If I was going to die, I was going to die telling a
story," said Hogg, a senior. "We're children," he said
in a CNN interview the day after the attack. "You
guys are the adults."
As students lobbied for changes to gun laws, state
and national leaders began to discuss proposals related to school safety and firearms. Trump met with
school shooting survivors and their families at the
White House, including some whose children were
killed in the Parkland attack.
"It should have been one school shooting, and we
should have fixed it," Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, died in the shooting, told Trump. "I'm
pissed! My daughter-I'm not going to see again!
She's not here."
After the meeting, Trump called for training and
arming teachers, suggesting bonuses for those who
carry guns. The idea was widely dennounced by educators, Runcie, Parkland leaders, and the National
Association of School Resource Officers.
Even as their experiences became the central anecdote in resurging debates about school safety, educators at Stoneman Douglas had to face the reality
of a long recovery.
Staff members planned to return to campus late
last week. The school planned a voluntary event for
students and parents Feb. 25 with hopes of starting
classes a few days later. Students have been meeting
with counselors throughout the city and gathering in
front of a memorial in a city park. The district plans
to raze the building where the shooting took place.
English teacher Holly Van Tassel-Schuster has
used a homework app to send her students messages
of support, like "I love you. I miss you guys so much."
Students lost more than the friends and teachers,
said Adeena Teres, a science teacher at the school,
who's been meeting nightly with her colleagues to
prepare for the days ahead.
"They lost the sense of school as a safe place," she
I think gun
me for a long
Student, Silver Spring, Md.
Grief and Rage Drive Students
To Demand Changes to Gun Laws
Upwelling of youth activism
in Florida and beyond
By Arianna Prothero & Andrew Ujifusa
Marches in Washington, and Utah. Walkouts in
California, Iowa, and Maryland. Emotional Twitter
rebukes of political leadership that have gone viral.
And thousands of chanting young people converging on the Florida statehouse in Tallahassee, demanding changes to the state's gun laws.
Just as it seemed that public reaction to school
shootings had become predictable, and lawmakers'
votes on gun control would stay within the status
quo, students' responses to the latest tragedy in
Parkland, Fla., have been anything but.
The upwelling of youth activism across the country galvanized by the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stands in stark
contrast to previous school shootings, advocates and
academics say, and holds the potential to become
a commanding new force as advocates for new restrictions on guns and access to guns. The hashtag
#NeverAgain has become both a mantra and tool
for organizing student activism on social media.
"I think gun violence has really affected me for a
long time, starting with Sandy Hook," said Amarins
Laanstra-Corn, 17, a junior at Montgomery Blair
High School in Silver Spring, Md., who co-organized
a student walk-out that took her and other students
to Capitol Hill and the White House last week. "It
could be one of us and we can't sit quietly. We can't
let this die out."
Seasoned gun control advocates are hopeful that
students will be successful where adults have not.
"This is a powerful, no-B.S. constituency that is
now very angry and very active and very much
calling for change and calling for action," said Mark
Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the mass
shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Newtown, Conn., in 2012 and went on to co-found
Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit that works to
protect children from gun violence. "More than calling for it, they're demanding it."
Breaking Through Entrenched Positions?
Gwendolyn Frantz, 17,
of Kensington, Md.,
stands in front of the
White House during a
student protest calling
for gun control last
week in Washington.
Parkland students, along with many of the their
peers from across the state, went to the Florida
legislature for multiple days last week to send a
direct message after the murder of their classmates and teachers: We want more gun control,
and if you don't pass it, other school shootings will
be your responsibility.
While Florida was the epicenter, youth activists
around the country were also taking a stand.
Early last week, students from multiple schools
in Iowa City, Iowa, walked out of their classes to
protest gun violence, the Associated Press reported.
An estimated 200 students gathered at a location
downtown, where the names of the 17 victims of
the Parkland shooting were read aloud.
Students from Boca Raton High School in
Boca Raton, Fla., walked out of class last week
and marched toward Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to express solidarity, the Miami
Walkouts in the name of demanding more restrictive gun laws were also planned in California
and Utah over the course of the week, according to
local media reports.
But student activists were quickly learning their
work won't always have an instant pay-off or remain free from repercussions. Parkland students
looked on in anger and frustration last week as
Florida lawmakers declined to debate a gun-control measure. And the Houston Chronicle reported
that the superintendent for the Needville district
in Texas said he would suspend students if they
walked out of class to protest gun laws.
A Post-Columbine, Social Media Generation
Most of today's high school students were born
after the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School
in Colorado, and many were in late elementary
school or middle school when 20 1st graders were
shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary. They've
grown up in an era of practicing emergency lockdowns and active shooter drills.
"If you're constantly being reminded that this is
a threat that you have to experience, and simultaneously you see politicians broadly dance around
the topic," said Tom Maher, a lecturer at Purdue
University who studies youth social movements
and organizations, "that may be particularly enraging and particularly frustrating."
And they've grown up on social media.
"I think their anger and their outrage, combined
with their prowess on social media, that enables
them to amplify their own voices," said Shannon
Watts, the founder of the gun-control advocacy
group Moms Demand Action. "I think this is the
time that all of this came together."
Using everything from Facebook and Twitter to oldschool flyers and word of mouth, Laanstra-Corn said
she and other organizers of the student walk-out from
Montgomery Blair and other nearby high schools
turned an event she thought would involve just a few
hundred students into thousands of students.
"I think social media was very instrumental in
PAGE 13 >
tion, profanity, disruption, fighting, and assault."
"In January 2017, when Cruz was disciplined for
an alleged assault, that triggered a call for a threat
assessment, a formal process by which the school determines whether a student is dangerous and how
that student should be supervised and supported,"
the paper reported, adding that it's unclear whether
such an assessment was ever conducted.
District leaders have refused to discuss Cruz's records citing federal privacy laws. Runcie told Education Week that that schools need more resources
and more community support to address student
behavior and mental-health concerns.
Around the country, parents began questioning if
their children's schools were adequately confronting similar concerns with their own students. And
policymakers began asking if there is enough coordination among public-health providers, schools, and
law enforcement to ensure that no one slips through
Staff Writer Denisa R. Superville contributed to this
EDUCATION WEEK | February 28, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 11
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 28, 2018
Education Week - February 28, 2018
News in Brief
Computer Science for All: Can Schools Make It Happen?
Pressure to Graduate Failing Students Is Felt Nationwide
U.K. Curriculum Import Becoming Increasingly Popular
Missouri Tackles Challenge of Dyslexia Screening, Services
Lost Sense of School As a Safe Place
Grief and Rage Drive Students To Demand Changes to Gun Laws
A Florida City Forever Changed
Lockdown Drills Prompt Fear, Stress After Parkland
A Long Journey Ahead Seen For Survivors of Shooting
On Social Media, Teens Witness, Grieve, Organize
Legal Issues Loom for District In Shooting’s Wake
One State’s Dive Into K-12 Aid Figures
States Confront ESSA Mandate on Spending Transparency
Several Ed. Dept. Offices Target of Reorganization
Trump Seeks Ed. Dept. Budget Cuts
The Editors: What Should Betsy DeVos Prioritize?
Margaret Spellings: Higher Education
Marilyn Anderson Rhames: Teacher Quality
Karla Phillips: Personalization
Maddie Fennell: Leadership by Example
Shaun M. Dougherty: Career and Tech Ed
Mike Tenbusch : The ‘Have Nots’
Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II: Racial-Equity Agenda
Erin McGrath: Lack of Choice
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Jerrod Wheeler: Impact Aid Is a Lifeline for Military-Connected Kids
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Education Week - February 28, 2018
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 2
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 3
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Report Roundup
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 5
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Computer Science for All: Can Schools Make It Happen?
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Pressure to Graduate Failing Students Is Felt Nationwide
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - U.K. Curriculum Import Becoming Increasingly Popular
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Missouri Tackles Challenge of Dyslexia Screening, Services
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Lost Sense of School As a Safe Place
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Grief and Rage Drive Students To Demand Changes to Gun Laws
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - A Florida City Forever Changed
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 13
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Lockdown Drills Prompt Fear, Stress After Parkland
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - A Long Journey Ahead Seen For Survivors of Shooting
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Legal Issues Loom for District In Shooting’s Wake
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 17
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - States Confront ESSA Mandate on Spending Transparency
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Several Ed. Dept. Offices Target of Reorganization
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Trump Seeks Ed. Dept. Budget Cuts
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 21
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Maddie Fennell: Leadership by Example
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Erin McGrath: Lack of Choice
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 25
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - 27
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - Jerrod Wheeler: Impact Aid Is a Lifeline for Military-Connected Kids
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - February 28, 2018 - CW4