Fleetwood Area High School Students Support National School Walkout

Posted on May 7, 2018 by

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On 20 April, 2018, the Fleetwood Area High School had an assembly for the National School Walkout, which was organized by the student council. Students who participated were called down at 9:30 a.m. to meet in the auditorium.

In the beginning, there was a seventeen-second moment of silence in honor of the Parkland victims. Then, each member took turns reading short biographies of the Parkland victims and gave another moment of silence for the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre before discussing about the signs of someone who could possibly become a mass shooter.

Then the microphone was handed to Pennsylvania State Representative Barry Jozwiak, and he discussed what he and other state representatives brought up in hearings.

“There were six days of hearings on gun violence and listening to people’s various ideas, but we don’t want knee-jerk reactions because knee-jerk reactions have consequences that no one really wants. Our job is public safety to [all high schoolers]. Also, keep in mind that the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms, shall not be infringed, but there will be a balancing act between the honest and dishonest people,” Jozwiak said.

“Representative Jozwiak made this statement that it’s not a gun violence problem, it’s a violence problem because in England they banned guns, but they still have a problem with knives. And I brought up statistics showing that a lot more people are killed with guns than with knives, so it’s obviously a problem with access to guns,” senior Julia Donohoe said.

At 9:55, it was announced that participants could either join in on the walkout at 10:00 and walk out of the front doors of the school to the stadium bleachers until 10:17 or stay inside the school and ask Jozwiak questions, propose arguments, or sign petitions that were right outside the auditorium.

The petitions were for school safety, gun safety, mental healthcare, and the elimination of gun free zones. The school safety petition called for better staff preparedness, more mandatory intruder drills, and faculty members to have more emergency training that improves life-saving techniques so they can be better prepared for events such as an intruder.

The gun safety petition is about enforcing better background checks, along with a two-week waiting period to give officials the time to properly perform a background check to see if the purchaser has any indication of a potential threat. The petition also questions why it is required for regular citizens to have access to semi-automatic weapons, especially firearms, that are designed to look like an assault rifle when it is not.

The mental healthcare petition urged schools to have one guidance counselor per 250 students, one social worker, and mental health screenings in each school. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) does endorse this, but the state of Pennsylvania is falling behind on looking out for students’ mental health, and because of this, there is a possibility for more school tragedies.

The final petition had urged for the elimination of gun free zones.

“In the first part of the petition is a piece that would allow people with CHL (concealed handgun license) to be able to carry their guns concealed and on their waist. And on top of that, we want to add more protection to the schools, so we would employ veterans through the Veterans Affairs Program, and that would be one officer per 200 students, so that would be 14 officers protecting the Fleetwood Area School District,” freshman Gavin Milligan said.

“As far as [Fleetwood Area High School] goes, I am very content with how things went down today. I think that we had a really good turnout from the student body, and as far as questions went, everyone was respectful and got their point across. We had our schedule keep to pretty well, and Mr. Jozwiak did a good job in stating some points before he took questions, and he answered them as best as he could. So, overall, I’m pretty happy with how things went, especially given how I’ve been told from the stadium, at the end of things, everyone was incredibly respectful, which pleases me to hear that,” senior Jake McGarry said.

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