“This is for every single kid who fears for their life”


Students protest outside of a Florida high school. Photo Credit: New York Post

Karen Manley

On Wednesday, February 21, student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting marched on the Florida State Capital demanding gun reform and chanting “vote them out.”  The shooting took place on Wednesday, February 14 at 2:21 p.m. at a Florida high school,  where 17 students and faculty were fatally shot by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.

Though the shooting happened halfway across the country, Fossil Ridge High School students know all too well the realities of a world where school shootings are the norm. Nick Townsend explained, “it’s not people in their fifties and sixties getting shot up in their schools, that didn’t happen when they were kids. It’s our generation that’s experiencing this and grew up in the post-Columbine era and I think we have the right to have an opinion about it.”

Without taking into account extracurriculars, students spend thirty four hours a week inside the walls of Fossil. As a district, Poudre School District has put a great deal of effort into preparing for an attack. Code-99 drills and a shift to offering students the choice to fight back instead of hiding has increased the safety of students. However, schools across the country have implemented similar policies and yet the problem persists. Opinions about the issue vary, but the fact that more than 400 lives that have been lost since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting cannot be ignored.

“Especially as the next generation to be voting, it’s important to show that we care and that we want this to change,” commented Fossil student Annalese Rapagnani.

The purchase of firearms in the U.S. is relatively unrestricted. Consumers must be 18 or older to buy an assault weapon, but 21 in order to buy a handgun. Twelve states require a permit for purchase. For every 100 people in the U.S., there are 88.8 guns, the highest ratio in the world.

The exact number of shootings this year is fluid, as it has come into debate the requirements to call an event a “school shooting.” Is it any shot fired on campus or must students be present? Does it have to be fatal? These questions are important, as the statistics they provide can be used both in support and in objection to stricter gun laws.

However, it can be said without doubt that “more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999,” according to the Washington Post.

School shootings not only terrorize campuses in the moment, but leave students feeling uneasy. “Everyday, parents send their kids to school expecting that they’re going to come home safe and that’s just the standard,” said Rapagnani. As more shootings take place, students in Florida, and all over the world are demanding change.