As young people return to school, there have been more incidents of gun violence at schools. Over the past few weeks alone, there have been at least seventeen different incidents of students bringing firearms on school grounds in at least thirteen different states, including Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Mississippi, California, South Carolina, Arkansas, Nevada, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee. This month, there were two shootings in high schools in North Carolina alone. In a new piece published by Elite Daily, Maddie Ahmadi, a junior in highschool in Vermont and a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board, talks about returning to school, the fears of gun violence, and her advocacy to keep her peers and community safe.
From the piece [emphasis added]:
“Hearing about school shootings never gets easier. Each time I hear about another devastating tragedy, I grieve for my peers and fear for the possibility of something terrible happening in my own school. Now, with schools going back to in-person learning, we’re returning to the anxiety, fear, and uneasiness of being in schools without adequate solutions to the gun violence public health crisis that continues to rage in our country.
This isn’t an inevitable reality. School shootings are preventable. Research from Everytown shows that in cases of gun violence on school grounds, up to 80% of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their own home, a relative’s home, or from friends. Securely storing firearms — locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition — can help prevent this violence.
In 2019, I started my own Students Demand Action chapter in my high school in Essex, Vermont, and in 2020, I joined the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. I wanted to address the type of gun violence that makes up more than 80% of gun deaths in my state of Vermont — gun suicide…. In December 2020, our school’s Students Demand chapter pressed the Essex Westford School District Superintendent to send home notifications about securely storing firearms — a tactic learned from years of Moms Demand Action organizing. We succeeded, and the letters went out in spring 2021. Now, we’re working on doing the same thing statewide. Thanks to our work and the work of grassroots volunteers across the country, nearly 9,000 students live in districts where we’ve sent secure storage notifications in Vermont. As of fall 2021, we’re on track to reach over 2 million students around the country this year.
My generation is tired of feeling the world around us slip back into normalcy just hours after shootings that rock our communities. We are tired of always getting thoughts and prayers instead of protection. The threat of gun violence in my school scares me, but it also ignites me to action. We are standing up, speaking out, and organizing to make sure the gun violence affecting our communities is being addressed.”
Full piece is available here. If you are interested in learning more about the work of Students Demand Action volunteers, please don’t hesitate to reach out.