Update on Panthers for Parkland

Maddie Roberts, Staff Writer

The pain and heartache seen in the student’s faces from Parkland, Fla. when legislations turned down bills for gun control is a big part of what has sparked such a nationwide call to action.

Due to the events in Parkland, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have decided to protest against gun violence by creating a movement called March for our Lives that encourages students across America to participate in walkouts as a way to raise their voices and hopefully create changes.

Besides the protests planned in Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Washington D.C., South is planning a school-wide commemorative event for any student to participate in. As of now, it is going to happen on April 20 and will involve students walking out onto the football field in response to Parkland and other mass shootings.

Senior Emily Brown, who is part of the planning committee, said, “there may be speakers, there may be not; those kinds of things are still up in the air and will be determined as time goes on.”

The planning committee also wants to create t-shirts, the proceeds from which will go to foundations that promote gun control. They will be continuing to create a plan in Panther Plus during the next weeks, where anyone can attend if they’d like to help out and learn more. In addition, there is a website full of information on how to help here as well as an Instagram account (@panthersforparkland) and a Twitter account (@south4parkland) that will keep students updated.

If a student participates in a walkout that is not authorized by the school, they can be counted truant (unless excused by a parent).

Brown said that it’s important for students to protest because gun violence is “something that affects students’ lives greatly, especially because we are the ones that are losing our friends or losing our lives,” and “even though it’s not in our community, we are a community of students all over the U.S. and I think it’s important to protect other students that are facing the same things.”

On March 23, students gathered during Panther Plus to write letters to representatives and senators concerning bills that the Indiana Legislation has recently discussed in relation to gun control. Some of these include allowing guns on college campuses and getting rid of background checks at the point of sale of guns. If you’d like to write a letter, here is a list of congressmen, senators, and representatives’ contact information as well as a template for how to do so.

Another important action that students can take is registering to vote. Young people have continued to vote less and less every election. Only about 46 percent of millenials voted in the last election, compared to 72 percent of those over the age of 71 according to NPR.

Students born before Nov. 6, 2000 can register to vote now; there are forms to register in the main office that can be filled out and turned back in there. Eligible students can also register here.

“If we all get out there and vote in the next election in November, we can actually make a huge change; letting your lawmakers know that they have a large community of people that really like to see change will maybe sway their ideas and know that that’s what people want them to vote for,” Brown said.