HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Students in Broward County are voicing their concerns and calling for change in wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Some students calling for change were directly affected by Wednesday’s shooting, which took the lives of 17 students and staff.
“I lost two of my closest, closest people to me because of guns,” said survivor Kelsey Friend.
Students are now calling for stricter gun laws.
“Our community just took 17 bullets to the heart,” said Cameron Kasky, “and it feels like the only people who don’t care are the people making the laws.”
Some of the teens calling for change are still too young to vote, but they’re already using their voices to speak out.
“We’re the people who are gonna be making the laws one day,” said Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez, “and even if it seems small now, it’s gonna be incredibly incremental in the future, and we need to put forward those baby steps.”
One student said she and her classmates talked gun control while they hid from the gunman.
“While we were in there, we were all still talking about gun control and how something needs to change,” said survivor Carly Novell. “Like, we were in a closet and we were still thinking about this.”
President Donald Trump arrived in South Florida on Friday, tweeting that he will go to Parkland to meet with survivors and the victims’ families.
“What I want President Trump to know and what I want Congress to know is that you guys are in control of the House and Senate,” said student David Hogg. “You guys have the ability to pass as much legislation as you want. Get together, get some stuff done.”
The details of what to do is certainly up for debate, but students at the protest said doing nothing is not an option.
“This shouldn’t be a fight between two different parties. This should be a coming together where we all realize that something is wrong,” said Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Isabelle Robinson, “and even if we disagree on the way to fix it, we all just need to talk about it and stop being angry and stop slandering other people because that doesn’t help anyone, and that’s why people die.”
Not everyone agrees on what needs to be done.
Stoneman Douglas High School senior Karlos Valentin said the solution is more security, not fewer guns.
“I’m a firm believer guns don’t kill people — people kill people,” said Valentin, “and if you believe otherwise, it’s like saying pencils must spell words and cars drive drunk. I think we should have more security in the school, more armed people in the school protecting the school.”
A protest was also organized Friday morning by South Broward High School students.
At least 30 students were at the protest, located outside of South Broward High School. The protest began at around 8 a.m.
Students were protesting gun violence, the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump.
Students could be heard chanting, “Gun reform now!”
“I tweeted out, and I knew that I would get a response because I knew that South Broward did care about the safety of us — other Broward County students, the United States of America,” said student Amy Campbell Oates. “The past five years have been awful.”
7Skyforce flew over the scene at around 8:45 a.m., where students were seen with signs.
Police cruised near the protest to ensure the students’ safety, as well.
Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said students have reached out to him and other district leaders with a message: Let’s not wait.
“Saying that now, now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country,” said Runcie, “so our students are asking for that conversation, and I hope we can get it done in this generation, but if we don’t, they will.”
“People keep, like, saying your thoughts and prayers and all these things, but it doesn’t make a difference if nothing ever changes,” said survivor Carly Novell. “This happens over and over again, and people are dying, and it seems like it doesn’t matter ’cause what are thoughts and prayers gonna do when people are already dead?”
Many students have also started replying directly to politicians on social media, asking for change.
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