Parkland students take Tallahassee


Courtesy of Saul Martinez

One hundred students from Stoneman Douglas get on buses to Florida’s capitol to speak to legislators about guns control

Tiffany Schram, Staff Writer

After a brutal school shooting at Florida high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High, the survivors have only one priority: #NeverAgain.

Last week on Wednesday, February 14th former student, Nikolas Cruz entered the school from which he had been expelled and shot numerous classmates and teachers. The day of love soon became the day of terror for over 3,000 students and staff, and inconceivably the last day of life for seventeen of them.

The morning after mourning, however, was anything but silent. Students from the school and across the country started a campaign to spread awareness about mass gun violence. For senior Masiel Baluja, this massacre was a major eye opener. As Baluja and other students fled the school, they were only feet from the shooter, but unaware that Nikolas Cruz was the one responsible. After Baluja made it safely to a shopping center, she was told who the shooter was that could have easily taken her life. This story is similar for hundreds of others from MSD. Losing teachers, friends, or siblings has caused a wave of voices all screaming one word, “CHANGE!”

“It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me,” says senior Masiel Baluja. “I never want anyone else to experience something so horrifying.”

Students from MSD were insisting on change, and they were not the only ones. Schools all over Florida students protested and walked-out  to promote the need for stricter gun laws. Millions throughout the nation are over the simple reply from politicians about their “Thoughts and prayers,” they want action.

One hundred students loaded into buses on Tuesday February 20th, and began driving on the road to change. They met with state lawmakers and took part in a mid-day rally with thousands of supporters. Just one day after the state House voted down a motion to debate a bill that would ban assault rifles in the state, thousands of peers joined the Stoneman students at a rally for gun control outside the capitol building in Tallahassee, Florida on Wednesday. According to Miami Herald, Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran spoke with the students when they arrived. They also met with Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Gov. Rick Scott, a favorite of the National Rifle Association.But even pro-gun Scott has vowed that “everything is on the table” for reform. The students want legislators to draft the specifics of state laws in the less than twenty days of the legislative session.

At a news conference last Friday, Scott proposed a three-point plan to prevent gun violence. This plan includes banning the sale of firearms to anyone younger than 21 and calls for a trained law enforcement officer in every school in Florida by the time the 2018 school year begins. Scott  proposes one officer for every 1,000 students on campus and mandatory active shooter training at all schools. Students, teachers and staff must complete all training and “code red” drills by the end of the first week of each semester.

These students are fighting for their generation, the children they have lost, and the children they are going to have. The world is watching as they fight for their lives, and to make sure that a mass shooting like this will never happen again.

“Our message is very simple,” sophomore Tanzil Philip told the Miami Herald. “Never again. This never should have happened.”