On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was met with incredible tragedy, as a former student walked into the school and opened fire. Seventeen people lost their lives, and the students have been working tirelessly to change gun control laws in the country.
Emma Gonzalez, a senior at MSDHS, gave an empowering speech while calling for action from the government.
"We are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers," she said. "Then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."
The students have been working tirelessly to make sure that no other school will have to go through what they did, which was unthinkable to most. They are asking for stricter gun laws, more background checks, and any help from the government they can get.
President Donald Trump stunned many when he agreed with Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's bill proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase assault rifles.
“I think it’s something you have to think about,” Trump said. “It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait until I’m 21 to get a handgun but I can get [an assault rifle] weapon at 18."
President Trump also didn't rule out banning the weapons altogether. This change is huge in terms of gun control and the safety of others. The bill would also require more extensive background checks for potential gun owners which would hopefully rule out people with severe mental illnesses.
MSDHS made an interesting move to make their campus safer.
Robert Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, made an announcement regarding safety changes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and that announcement was that all students will be required to wear clear backpacks.
Yep, you read that right. The board is combating gun violence with clear backpacks.
"We're going to be able to man every gate at the school during school hours and for after-school activities," said Runcie. "We will be implementing a program for clear backpacks after spring break."
While the most common solution recommended for MSDHS is adding metal detectors to the school, Runcie has spoken in the past about how he doesn't believe they're effective.
"Someone is not going to go through a metal detector with an AR-15," he said, saying the hypothetical shooter would find a way around that. He also suggested that it would be a logistical nightmare to have all 3,200 kids get through metal detectors every day and that it would create a tense learning environment.
In addition to the backpacks, all students and staff will be given ID badges that must be worn at all times. The reaction to the new protocol has received a lot of attention, especially from students.
"Great. Because clear backpacks are gonna fix everything," student Lauren Hogg said on Twitter. "I appreciate the attempt, but I’d rather have common [sense] gun laws than a clear backpack."
Kyra Parrow, a senior at MSDHS, said the move is "making my school seem like jail now because legislators don't have common sense gun reform on their agendas."
"Well we already have clear backpacks at our school - a boy still managed to bring a knife and bullets so yeah," Kenidra Woods said on Twitter. "If they want to commit a crime, THEY WILL FIND A WAY. This is not always effective just saying. "
I will admit, it can't be easy for a superintendent to do much else considering he cannot control the laws. He is in charge of the safety of his students and he may not have the tools necessary to help them.