One Year Parkland Anniversary

Morgan Biresch, Journalism Student

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February 14th, 2019 marks the one-year anniversary of one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. History.  On the day that love is supposed to be shared, 19-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, Nickolas Cruz, attacked the school. The former student took 17 lives: 14 students and three staff members and injured 17 others with an AR-15.

Just one day after the shooting, 20 students formed the Never Again MSD. This is a student-led political action committee. Their main purpose was to advocate for gun control and to influence the 2018 U.S. elections by encouraging young people to vote. Their movement called “Never Again” gained followers within days and many other students quickly joined founders Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, and Sofie Whitney. Events such as a gun-control rally in Fort Lauderdale, the March for Our Lives protest, and several other protests gained national attention. Students around the country joined in on the movement showing that students do have a voice.

Pennridge High School students got involved in this incredible movement. Pennridge 225 was a group of students who were given detention for walking out of school in March for a nationwide protest on gun reform. The students then used the detention as a protest and sat in a circle in silence wearing the names of the victims of gun violence. When Ryan Campbell, participant of the 225, was asked his input on the changes he has seen in reform states he said, “I just think the whole concept has gotten out of control in this country and the measures schools take to prevent these types of things are questionable, but at least they are trying.”

The question asked after all the protests and rallies are, “what has changed?” On the state level, in 2018, nearly 70 new state gun laws were passed. This includes increasing the minimum age for purchasing a firearm. In Florida, the legislature passed school safety bill into law that raises the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18-21, sets aside nearly $400 million dollars to help school security and allows some school staff to carry firearms. Even popular companies such as Bank of America, Kroger, L.L. Bean, and Walmart have changed their policies in response to the Parkland shooting. Lastly, a great number of businesses have cut ties with the National Rifle Association. Even today schools, such as Pennridge, are still fighting for ways to keep students safe in the classroom.

This is just a snapshot of all the changes that have been made since Parkland. Students of America are still fighting for change and do not plan to stop anytime soon. Students are the focus of this movement, which is something that has never been seen before. Behind the strong students are proud teachers, like Melissa Bratina, a teacher at Quakertown High school. When asked how she felt about the movement, she replied, “I am proud to live in a time where you are taken seriously no matter your age, profession, race, sexuality, or degree”. Though these students had to go through a horrific tragedy to be taken seriously, they are inspiring others all over the county, including people like us, from a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.