This post was authored by Hollie Marjanovic.
In 2018, survivors from the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School came to visit Jackson, Mississippi to talk about the importance of standing up to gun violence. What struck me most was that these students (most between the ages of 16-18) said that there has not been a single year in their lifespan that a school shooting has not happened. In their lifetime, school shootings have become tragic, yet “normalized” occurrences. They begged us for help. They begged us to not let this continue and we have failed them.
This past week we saw, yet again, a school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville. As a mom of children near the same age and an educator, it hurts. Just like it did at Uvalde. Just like it did at Newtown. Just like it did at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Just like it does, when I read that there have actually been 74 lives lost to gun violence in schools this year.
We can no longer be afraid to look away and to believe that we can’t change the future. The motto of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is to find a way or to make one. We must make a way forward to protect our children. We can start by having conversations amongst ourselves and with our students (age appropriate). We can contact our local representatives, we can join groups like Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and March for Our Lives. All of these groups are doing great work, but need so much more support in terms of humans participating in order to show our leaders that we will not stand for what is happening.
We can make a collective effort as a school whose mission it is to be a beacon of light in our area to ask for change. We can align ourselves with other schools in the area to do the same. We can ask that SAIS and NAIS put forth calls to support anti-gun violence legislation, such as safe gun storage laws and training for crisis teams–things that are proven to help. We can be the change.
I do not wish to see another spring that is sprung with death and tragedy from gun violence.