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Students participate in local March for Our Lives protest

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Thousands of North Texas students, parents and teachers participated in the international March for Our lives protest against gun violence on March 23. During the protests in Fort Worth, Denton and Dallas, voter registration drives were also held.

Junior Lalita Kunamneni spoke at the Fort Worth March for Our Lives event after contacting the organizers on Facebook.

“I’d see [school shootings] happen, and I thought ‘there must be change.’ So I’d retweet something and nothing would ever happen,” Kunamneni said. “[The Parkland students] started speaking out and I saw the March for Our Lives movement and thought ‘this is something I can do.’”

Kunamneni also said that Texas’ gun laws were another reason she spoke out against gun violence.

She emphasized the importance of continuing action—right now, Kunamneni and other speakers from the Fort Worth rally are planning a town hall meeting with Rep. Michael Burgess, who is up for re-election. The meeting is set for April 7.

“You can’t say ‘you don’t know how it’s like,’ when it’s literally students saying, ‘this is what going to school is like,’” Kunamneni said. “They aren’t speaking once, it’s continued action.”

Junior Madigan Blake attended the Fort Worth march, which had over 7,000 participants. She was nervous at first since this was her first march, though she found out that a lot of those attending had never been in a march either.

“I’m not really a march kind of person, but so many of my friends talked about going, and so many people talked about making changes for gun violence,” Blake said. “If everyone else can get out and do it, then I can do it, too.”

U.S. History teacher Jesse Hood also expressed his support for the teen activists. He said the activism is what makes the shooting at Stoneman Douglas different from those like Columbine.

“These kids who are getting active are 18, 19, 20 years old, young men and women. And I keep thinking about the Civil Rights Movement and looking back at the student nonviolent coordinating committee, and they were the same age,” Hood said. “So I think something like that is in a movement here, and I hope change for the good is coming from it.”

Blake said she’s frustrated with continued school shootings and nothing changing as a result.

“It’s their time. They’re fed up, they don’t want it to happen anymore, so they’re moving on it,” Hood said. “And it’s pretty impressive to watch these kids, young men and women, do this.”

The March for Our Lives movement goals are universal comprehensive background checks, funds to research gun violence, high capacity magazine and assault weapons ban. Junior Zach Kephart doesn’t believe this will end gun violence though.

“To a certain extent [we need stricter gun control], but for the most part, no. These instances just happen to be going on at the same time, and I think with a couple of slight changes maybe we could fix that and make it a little bit better,” Kephart said. “It’s going to happen, and there’s still people out there who will get their hands on guns no matter what.”

Since the Parkland shooting, there’s been multiple students across the country who have brought guns to school, including at Marcus. Blake says this was part of what inspired her to participate in the Fort Worth march — the issue of gun violence had directly affected her.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers addressed the situation at Marcus, stating that “LISD will do everything within our power to keep our kids safe.” He said the district plans on adding an additional 700 to 800 security cameras.

“One of the most heart wrenching things that educators face are things like what happened in Florida,” superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers said. “The sad reality is we’re not ultimately safe anywhere, whether at home, at the mall, at the movie theater. I do believe that if you pay attention to schools in general they’re safer than most places, and they’re filled with people like the teachers that we saw in Florida that will literally give their lives for the kids they serve.”


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Students participate in local March for Our Lives protest