Growing up I was always in the public school system in South Florida, and truthfully I always felt safe. I knew the adults and teachers were there to help me and to provide me with an education that would eventually lead me to college and so forth. I was fortunate because I not only have great teachers, those that cared, but I felt protected in my environment and showing up to class every day.
After my public school education, I attended The Florida State University (FSU) and into my 3rd year there was a shooting on campus, at the library. I remember when it happened and how the university felt and reacted after. When it happened, I was fortunate to be in my apartment off campus, and I was getting ready for sleep when I heard the gunshots. It was ominous. Somehow it felt different from all the other loud bangs you might hear outside, Tallahassee is a college town after all, but to see how FSU came together as a community after was heartwarming. People were reaching out to the victims and their families offering help and monetary support, we held walks, and memorials, and when you are a young adult, and far away from your families back home it is easy to feel unsafe and alone, but the FSU community didn’t allow for that to happen. It was nice to see us all being there for each other and those that needed it the most. The Seminole community, be it what it may, but it is a family. One that cares, supports, and in times of need helps out, and we occasionally party hard too, but we celebrate our wins just as much as we give back during losses.
Before showing up on the doorsteps of FSU, I was apart of another community the Atlantic Community High School Eagles (ACHS). I loved my time in high school. In high school I was part of the IB community at ACHS, and that in itself has always felt like an extended family. IB is a tough program to get through, and I couldn’t have survived and gotten through it without the help and support of great teachers and my classmates. Even now if any of those kids from any of my classes reached out to me, I would do my best to help them however I could.
During my time at ACHS, while I loved the school and the fact that my teachers always encouraged me to speak my mind and argue my thoughts, there were a few rules I could have lived without (me and the administration did not agree on dress code, so I pushed the limits when I could), but I never once felt threatened or like my voice was silenced. I wrote for the school newspaper while in high school and even then it didn’t feel like much was off the table regarding publication, we just had to make sure we always got our facts and represented the truth. That’s why it is so sad for me to hear that the same high school is silencing the voices of their students when it comes to the issue of gun control.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a school in South Florida, and what happened there is a result of adults, I guess I am an adult now, that have failed to address and take an issue seriously such as gun violence to protect the youth of this next generation. We haven’t done enough, and for that I am sorry, so, so, so, sorry! I know those words will never bring back those brave angels that were lost or mend the hearts that broke that day, but I am sorry and promise to support you all in your fight to bring towards stricter gun laws by echoing your voices and assisting you.
ACHS is a magnet school meaning kids anywhere in the Palm Beach School District can attend that school if they get into a program. So it is quite likely that kids are attending ACHS from Parkland or who have friends that attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So for the administration at ACHS to tell the students there that any kid participating in or planning a walkout, exercising their rights and standing with solidarity with those lives that were lost, will be kicked out of their program is a slap in the face. And the best part, the principle is holding a prayer circle in substitution.
What is going on ACHS? As administration at this school, you should be well aware that thoughts and prayers are not enough to keep your students safe. Does it not feel wrong to keep pushing your old aged agenda of thoughts and prayers when students around the country as asking for action? Do you not feel as though you are failing to help prepare and give these kids the skills they need for real life by pushing them to be bystanders? Do you not want to empower and support the voices of your school showing them that you are there for them and help their dreams (which calling it a dream sounds utterly ridiculous) of feeling safe while getting an education not just for them but for those that follow them? I especially can’t get over the fact that you are threatening to kick kids out and alter their future for them to support your agenda, why?
Now it should be stated that I believe everyone has their right to religion and to pray to the G-D of their choice and I think many kids have already expressed their concerns through prayer, but this generation wants more, and rightfully so. They want action.
So please as the alma mater that gave me such a strong voice and supported my dreams and projects please don’t discourage or hold back this generation. Support them and empower them as you did with my ideas, which in comparison seem minuscule compared to the dreams this upcoming generation has.
I know you mean well, but please give them the opportunities to take control of their life and make the changes they need to better it. Call it tough love ACHS, but it’s because I expect more from you.
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