PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On Saturday, March 24, 2018, young people from all across the country will gather in Washington, D.C. for the “March for our Lives.”
It’s in response to the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It’s part of the ongoing effort by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who have already helped get gun laws in Florida changed, when no one before them could do it.
Now, they’re inspiring students across the country to take action too, including right here in western Pennsylvania. After the Parkland shooting, Flynn Begor, a junior at Mt. Lebanon High School, created a new student group called “Students for Change.”
“It kind of sunk in that this is the first time in a while it’s my age,” she said of Parkland shooting victims. “Someone in my grade who goes to a school just like mine.”
Begor and her fellow members at Mt. Lebanon High School are organizing events to advocate for safer schools.
“Parkland is a similar community to Mount Lebanon. Kids feel so safe, but it kind of puts the thought in your mind – it could be us next,” Casey Gannon said.
Asked whether they feel safe at school, senior Claire Coyne said, “I can’ t say I do feel safe. It’s scary to go out and be anywhere where there’s a lot of people because you never know what’s gonna happen.”
Within days of the Parkland shooting, Begor spoke on the phone with David Hogg, a Parkland student leading the movement. The “Students for Change” have now organized a school walkout at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 20, which is the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
That same day, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., they’re holding their own “March on Washington” – Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon, that is. It’s a community-wide event to encourage everyone to make their voices heard.
The students here aren’t making specific proposals. They say right now, they just want leaders and legislators to do something.
“People talk about gun regulations, talk about the mental health point of view,” Begor said, “but we haven’t done anything. We don’t know what works. People shoot down ideas before trying them. We don’t know what works, so I just want something.”
These students aren’t letting age stop them.
“We already have student government; we talk about these issues. We learn about it, but we need to do it. We can’t vote, but we can be activists,” Begor said.
Many of these students will also participate in this weekend’s event in Washington, D.C.