Students take measures against gun violence into their own hands


Sophie Webb

Students lay on the floor, symbolizing those fallen and the chance of being next. They now take a moment of silence.

Sophie Webb, Social Chair, Social Media Manager

As 11:45 a.m. hit the clock, several students from Fossil Ridge High School left their chairs to participate in a protest, laying down in the media center while the dates of every school shooting were read. 

Several more students trickled in during lunch, some observing and others joining the cause. There have been several school shootings in 2023, the number already larger than the amount of days. 

Fossil has received threats of danger in the past, some being jokes and others more threatening. This is the new norm for high school careers. (Sophie Webb)

Schools continue to not take a stand, to not support students, and continue risking the lives of both students and faculty. The number of shootings only continues to increase as the days go by, the number of fatalities with it. 

Now in the United States a child not only has to prepare themselves for their exam that day, but an increased possibility of not coming home. A chance of sending a goodbye text.

The walk-out and protest was a nationwide event, sparked on social media by @studentsdemandaction. The caption read, “We can’t keep living and dying like this. Gun violence is preventable.” 

The leader Hannah McWain was glad to gain attention, hoping to spread awareness for the subject matter. “[We wish to] just to not normalize [school shootings] as something that happens every day because it shouldn’t,” McWain says. 

Several chants were initiated during the protest: we deserve to be safe, are we next, and don’t shoot. The final being, I’m a child, not a target, silencing the entire media center. 

“By the end of it we were all yelling and very passionate,” McWain explains. At least once, if not more, all eyes in the media center were on this group.

Since 1999 there have been at least 377 mass school shootings, including multiple fatalities of all ages including elementary schools. (Sophie Webb)

“I think it made a difference,” McWain says. Although there was trouble with scheduling, close to thirty students and staff showed up to support the cause. Some students were under the impression to meet just outside the school at 12:00 pm while others knew about the change. 

This could have affected the turnout but overall, several students showed up with their support. 

McWain’s fellow leader, Jill Ivory had other intentions as well. “We were hoping to gain staff’s attention too,” Ivory explains. That goal was certainly reached when administrators stood throughout the media center, including the principal, Julie Chaplain. 

“I think students have a right to peacefully demonstrate,” Chaplain says. The main point of administrator attendance was to ensure no other parties interfered with the protest happening. No problems from other parties happened despite a few laughs on the sidelines. 

Yet laughs were not the goal for this very serious topic. “[I want] for people to understand this isn’t a joke, this is serious, but people still think it’s a joke,” Ivory explains. 

Lives are lost and lives will continue to be lost. 

Hannah McWain reads the list of all school shootings, spanning all the way back to 1853. (Sophie Webb)

Recently in Denver East, there have been multiple shootings just short of a two-hour drive from Fort Collins and Fossil. On March 29, Loveland High School was evacuated when plans of a shooting for that day rose to faculty attention. 

Nevertheless, the majority of schools have not completed any new measures of safety and security. “It’s not about gun control, it’s really not, it’s about safety,” Ivory explains. 

In the United States, there is a common practice of lockdown drills. These drills teach students where to go when an unwanted personnel gets into the school and has the potential for danger. What is not as common knowledge is that the U.S. is one of the only countries that does and needs to practice this situation in a consistent time frame. 

“Hannah had a poster of the dates [of the shootings] and they just grow exponentially as we go,” Ivory says. 

There can be several changes made in the future. The question now comes: will we do any of them?