Recently, our nation has had to ask itself how we can make schools, and the students in them, safe from gun violence and potentially dangerous people. This is a question we’ve all asked, and most people agree something needs to change, but they do not take the next step to find the answers.
I want to do something about it. I am a student in the Social Action class at Westerly High School, and I have been working since March to try to figure out answers, try to figure out how inquiry can lead to action. How can I be intentional about how and what I communicate in order to make a change? This is my letter to the people of Westerly, so we together can make a change.
So far this year, there have been 58 mass shootings, and 1,081 people have died. This is more than a problem; it is a nightmare. This may not have happened in our school, but it can. We have a resource officer. But is that enough when we have two buildings? We lock the doors. But how hard is it to find a badge or sneak in with someone who does? We have a lockdown procedure. But will hiding huddled in a corner save us in the event of a shooting? The U.S., and Westerly citizens specifically, need to have a better awareness of school security and its connection to gun violence. We may not have the answers yet, but we need to come together to make meaningful change.
There is something you, as adults who have the power of a vote, can do. Educate yourselves about the current laws and procedures. Learn about our local and national politicians who are running, and vote for those who are pushing for better school-safety procedures. Go to school committee meetings and use your voices. Push for better mental health support in schools. Go to the polls and push for stronger background checks. Push for getting automatic and semi-automatic weapons away from ever doing harm to innocent people again. Please step up, please get the word out there, please stand for what you believe in, and please make change for what’s right.