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Legislators Work to Combat the School Shooting Epidemic

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Legislators Work to Combat the School Shooting Epidemic

Written by Maryam Khan and Keagan Lanham

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American legislators are taking immediate action to resolve the American school shooting epidemic in order to protect not only students, but America as a whole.

School Shootings are a topic laced with multiple controversies of gun violence, yet at the forefront of American ideation. In 2018 alone, there have already been over 20 school shootings, where someone was hurt or killed.

Most memorable this year, on February 14th, Stoneman Douglas High School was massacred by 19 year old Nikolas Cruz. Cruz entered the school with an AR-15, injuring everyone in his path, and amassing a total death toll of 17 people.

A month later, Senators Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, Steve Daines, Joni Ernst, Dan Sullivan, and Bill Nelson hosted a press conference on the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act. The conference was held to discuss the urgency of violence within schools, and how to combat it.

“There are things that we agree on and the notion that we should do everything we can to put in place systems to identify and to stop someone before they commit an act of violence, be it a mass shooting or taking their own lives, is something we can all agree on. And the fact that across this country, whether it’s in Utah or the L.A. school district, there are programs that are successfully doing it, give us a model to follow. And that’s what the STOP School Violence Act is about,” said Rubio at the press conference held in Washington DC.

“It is not designed to solve every issue or every problem with regards to this. But it is designed to address the most important part of this, and that is that we have individuals in this country that for various different reasons have committed themselves to taking the lives of other people, and we need to find out who they are and we need to stop them before they do it,” explains Rubio.

Rubio also intends to propose a law concerning Gun Violence Restraining Orders to prevent sales and remove weapons from those who appear as a threat. He encourages the ‘increase in background checks,’ as stated while on the Senate Floor only weeks before.

Government officials aren’t the only ones trying to make changes towards gun violence. Millions of students, walked out of school on March 14th to promote school safety. Woodgrove High School held an organized walkout, allowing students to leave the building after first period for 17 minutes, representing the 17 people who were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School.

Junior Sam Payne put all political differences aside, wanting his walk to symbolize school safety rather than gun control. “To solve the problem, it may start with gun control, but it’s not going to solve the total issue. It’s caring for the kid that sits by himself in the cafeteria with no one else to talk to, it’s looking after the people that aren’t in their right mind, because those are the people that are going to make the school unsafe,” said Payne.

Some may say focusing on the “outcasts” in school who may need mental help is a more realistic solution than tackling the gun control issue. However Woodgrove High School math teacher, Thomas Acquino has a differing opinion, “I don’t think you can pin it on one reason, there are many reasons. In actuality, I don’t think you can pin the blame on any one person or ideal. There are a lot of different ideals out there, and different perspectives.”

Schools try to prevent violence in schools by solving one side of the argument, Kevin Bezy, Associate Principal at Franklin County High School and Virginia Association for Secondary School Principals Representative comments, “It’s not a burden [on the school’s] it’s what we’re supposed to be doing…the role of public schools is to produce good citizens, and good citizens don’t bully each other… I think it’s part of our mission to look after the loner.”

People around the country demand fast action, from legislators and voters. While the gun control dilemma is a thriving controversy focused on mental health of consumers, the right to bear arms under the second amendment, and Parkland’s newly enforced transparent backpack rule, we can all agree that this travesty has transformed not only school policy, but America as a whole.

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Legislators Work to Combat the School Shooting Epidemic