SRL Parkland Reactions: We’ve Had Enough

In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, Student Reporting Labs connected to our network of teen reporters to find out how students are participating in the national discussion around school safety. We received over 80 video submissions, representing a variety of opinions on how this generation is grappling with gun violence, mental health and a hunger for action.

For many teens, witnessing the mobilization of student activists against gun violence in the wake of the Parkland shooting has been inspiring, but others remain skeptical. This video compilation features students from Aragon High School in California, Black River Falls High School in Wisconsin, Communications Arts High School in Texas, Fraser High School in Michigan, Mesquite High School in Texas, Northview High School in California, West Ranch High School in California, Westwood High School in Texas, and Windsor High School in California.

Anacortes High School, Washington State

“I feel like people are turning this into a partisan issue and it’s not a partisan issue, it shouldn’t be Republicans vs Democrats on whether guns should be taken out of schools and taken out of states or if they should be heavily filled in. I feel like it’s about protecting me and my younger sisters and brothers and everyone else who puts their faith in the school district to keep them safe.” — Braden Swanson

Arsenal Technical High School, Indiana

“I’ve been seeing some people talk about, he did it just because he was broken, because he didn’t have a real family, talking about his foster parents died, stuff like that. I really don’t think that’s a reason to do what he did, go kill a bunch of innocent people, just ‘cuz you ain’t got what you want and you wanted to take their lives because they were doing better than him.” — Allen Henderson

Christopher Columbus High School, Florida

“You know, when I first heard the news of the shooting, I was absolutely terrified. Just to think that someone could walk in and do that much harm to people’s lives, taking lives, from families–that’s somebody’s son or somebody’s daughter, or uncle or brother, it’s horrible to think about that.”  — Marcus Callegari

“I definitely think this time is different. Again, not much has changed since all the last school shootings, you see the school shootings throughout the ages, nothing changes. But I feel like the young people, now that it’s happened at this high school, these people now feel like they have a voice, they have a reason to start protesting so they’re going to start protesting.” — Marcel Van Hemert

Forestview High School, North Carolina

“I just honestly don’t think America learns from their mistakes.” — Mia Queen

“A lot of people kind of look down on teenagers these days because I guess they think that we don’t have it as hard as they did but it’s kind of cool that we’re making a change.” — Murphy Burrell

Fort Mill High School, South Carolina

“I don’t think it’s different because nothing’s been changed from past shootings. Our country has been desensitized by social media and media just blasts information from shootings. So I don’t think anything’s going to change from this one, unless we do something as a country.” —  Jackson Sale 

Frederick V. Pankow Center, Michigan

“I’ve seen a lot of anger, a lot of kids specifically wanting to see change and a lot of people rallying for change, and actually taking steps forward to see that change happen. I think it’s really great i think this is the response we should have we shouldn’t be scared we shouldn’t freak out or anything, we should demand that things are different because they are not good the way they are.” — Shane Verkest, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools

“Seeing the outcry from all the young people in Parkland, Florida, it’s inspiring to say the least. It’s amazing to see these kids standing up and trying to make a change.” — Nathaniel Zaccagnini, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools

Armed with social media and media savvy skills, young people across America are actively researching both sides of the gun debate and deciding where they stand.

Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Utah

“I think that with the students using their voices and leading protests and advocating for themselves and their safety at school that we’re on the right path to something big happening.” — Ellie McCoy

“I really do think that this time is different because of the lead that the young adults in Florida have started and we’re all following. I really think the young people aren’t putting themselves out there and making a difference in standing up for what they believe in and I really think that we’re going to get somewhere because we are the future of the next generation so why not start now.” — Sophie Davies

Legacy Early College High School, South Carolina

“Gun laws and heightened security are temporary fixes in my opinion, they’re not gonna solve the overall problems in these tragedies. People are the causes for most of these things, guns are an important factor and security is as well but the most important factor are the people. Guns by themselves don’t kill people, people kill other people in whichever ways they can if they want to.” —  José Lopez

North Brunswick High School, North Carolina

“In a couple weeks, nobody’s going to be talking about this. It always happens. After there’s a school shooting, it’s on TV for about a week or two. People talk about it. But it’s never talked about until the next one happens.” — Camryn Northam

“No I don’t think it’s different because every time a shooting happens, we send “thoughts and prayers” which obviously isn’t doing anything, it’s not changing anything because it keep happening, obviously nothing’s working.” — Mya Simmons

Palo Verde High School, Arizona

“I like how, on this shooting, a lot of the media is portraying the heroes rather than the shooter and his background and all that. A lot of the media is showing how kids stepped up to the plate to hold doors and protect other students.” —  Marco Rivera

Surrattsville High School, Maryland

“I believe with this #NeverAgain movement we can make a change, we can do things that stands for the movement, never again. But we also have to have countermeasures for things that happen again. What do we do when it happens again? We have to have things in the right perspective. We can’t just make a movement to make a movement and have nothing behind the movement.” —  Brandyn Prince

WHYY Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“There are two different responses. There’s the good one, and then there is the “mentally ill” thing. The good responses make me feel like everyone is together, like we’re hand in hand:  unity. But the “mentally ill” thing makes me feel like there’s just another excuse for this. If somebody from a different race were to do this, it would be labeled different. If a Muslim were to do this, it would be a terrorist attack. If a black kid were to do this, he’s a thug. I don’t know, that makes me mad. But the unity thing makes me feel positive.” —  Nate Brown

“We seem to be pushed aside a lot in these political situations and this time I think that we are making it known that we are the future,” says Kim Leadholm, a high schooler in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.


NewsHour Extra Lessons:

How teens want to solve America’s school shooting problem

Ways to share your students’ solutions to gun violence