Mita Sharma

WMS Students Demand Gun Control From Roy Blunt

May 25, 2018

While the majority of their classmates spent Friday afternoon spending time with friends at Starbucks, seven Wydown Middle School students made the decision to forfeit this entertainment and instead use the time to demand stronger gun control. The demonstration took place outside Missouri Senator Roy Blunt’s office in downtown Clayton at 4:15 PM. The students, part of Wydown’s Student Advocates for Gun Control, chanted slogans, held their signs high, and even lay down, as if they were dead, on the front steps of the building.

The students were impelled to demonstrate due to the recent Texas school shooting, as well as the Indiana school shooting that occured this morning, neither of which were followed by any promise of gun policy reform. They decided to voice their frustration and demand change from their senator who has received over 4 million dollars from the National Rifle Association and has consistently supported the removal of firearm restrictions.

“It’s like [Blunt] doesn’t even listen. I am afraid to go to school everyday and he doesn’t even do anything about it,” Ivy Reed, 13, said.

María Mohr, 12, agreed that Blunt refuses to listen to her generation’s call for gun reform.

“Blunt doesn’t care about our lives — that’s what he’s trying to get through to us — that he doesn’t respect us,” Mohr said. “But he should respect the people who are going to be the next generation and voting in a few years.”

A representative from the Blunt office allowed the seven middle schoolers to accompany her inside the office, where she listened to them voice their concerns and requests of Senator Blunt. Amongst the students’ concerns was an overarching sentiment that the government was failing to live up to its responsibility and its name.

“A lot of people talk about how the 2nd amendment gives us the right to own guns, but the first words in the constitution are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We feel like we’re being denied all of those,” Rohan Webb, 12, said.

Damian Boríc, 13, added that this concern had been on the students’ minds far before the Parkland shooting: the first school shooting took place before any of them were born and the threat has been ever-present since then.

Blunt’s representative told the students that she would pass on their words to Blunt, and the students are hopeful that she will stay true to her word.

“We hope she goes through with that because we all know that a lot of politicians don’t go through with their word but this is one thing that they need to here because we’re the generation that is going to change things,” Nina Fox-Dunsker, 13, said.

After the students returned outside, the chanting and marching commenced once more. A few parents had also gathered alongside the kids, displaying their own homemade signs and accompanying the chorus of student chants.

For Manisha Patel, Webb’s mother, the demonstration was both encouraging and a sobering reminder of reality.

WMS students stand outside of Roy Blunt's office during their protest.

“I think there’s a lot of hope when you think about it from the standpoint of the voice of the next generation already speaking up and being heard, and yet again, there’s the undercurrent of realizing why we’re having to hear from the kids and it’s just a very sad topic,” Patel said.

Audrey Goedegebuure, a CHS senior who was involved with the planning of the March 14 walkout and a member of CHS’ Student Action Committee (SAC), was also in attendance. Although Goedegebuure and many other SAC members are soon to be graduating from CHS, she is hopeful that this younger generation will keep the push for change and civic engagement thriving.

“It’s very empowering because I feel like we really need to continue this movement even though we’re leaving, and I’m glad that these kids are so involved,” she said.

The passion for civic engagement and desire to be socially active has indeed permeated these young souls. Mohr, for one, is grateful that advocacy is a foundation of United States politics.

“We are so lucky to be able to be doing this right now, to be able to be sharing our opinions,” Mohr said “And there are so many other people in the world who can’t be doing this right now, so we have to take ahold of what we’re doing and use all of our power, all of our strength, and all of our voice.”

Jamie Jordan, principal of Wydown, finds these students’ understanding and application of this tenet of American democracy to be remarkable.

“[These kids] were so prepared with all the facts and statistics — that’s what really is just amazing — it’s like putting all of the social studies knowledge into practice about things that they’re passionate about,” Jordan said.

For the students, however, the demonstration was not about their social studies curriculum. The students are tired of politicians’ lack of action, especially with school shootings being a common occurrence in this day and age.

“We need change now. We shouldn’t have to wait any longer,” Anna Lawrence, 12, said.

 

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About the Writer
Mitali Sharma, Editor-in-Chief

Mita is a senior at CHS and has had the pleasure of being on the Globe staff all four years of her high school career. She believes journalism to be a powerful change-maker and...

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