A Candid Conversation With George Washington Carver High School Students
By Wane A. Hailes
I recently sat down with students from George Washington Carver High School to get their opinion on a number of current events that included: The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; Gun Violence Reform; The March For Our Lives Movement and Donald Trump. Thanks to guidance counselor Shari Thomas for making the opportunity possible. Due to space restraints we have provided the comments that best reflected the sentiments of the group.
Relating to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High school:
“I felt given the school and the Parkland police department had recieved multiple tips about the behavior of the shooter they have to share some responsibility for the lives that were lost on that day.”
“Not that our school is perfect nor do I feel what happened at Stoneman Douglas High school couldn’t happen here, but I feel the students here at Carver are a real close knit group. If we were aware of someone that was displaying that type of behavior we would have no problem informing the administration and believing they would address it seriously.”
Regarding Gun Violence Reform:
“I believe we have to take a serious look at our current gun laws and make some changes. We need stricter laws which should include a broader background check that would encompass divulging any mental health issues an individual might have.”
“I agree. Think about it. We all complain about how inconvenient it is for us when we are traveling at airports but if taking off our shoes and belts and placing our electronic devices in a separate bin keeps someone from getting a bomb on a plane I’m not mad about that.”
The effectiveness of “The March for our lives Movement”:
“I think the “March For Our Lives Movement” has already made an impact on the leaders. As I watched how many young people participated when they marched on our nations capital it made me feel like we do have a voice. The more of us that get involved the more our leaders have to listen to us.”
“We are already making a difference, especially in Florida. As the result of the Parkland students protest the Florida passed a three-day waiting period to buy a firearm, a minimum age of 21 to buy any gun and a voluntary statewide program to train school personnel to carry concealed weapons.” I believe this is just the beginning. If we keep up the fight these changes can become law all across the country.”
Thoughts on Donald Trump:
“First of all he needs to stop all of his incessant tweeting. Not only do I feel it’s embarrassing but it makes our country look bad to others around the world.”
“He’s acting like a teenager. He needs to spend less time concerned with tweeting and more time working on solving the concerns of everyday citizen.”
I’m concerned about his actions and rhetoric concerning nuclear warfare. It appears he is begging for a nuclear war with North Korea. His tweet calling the North Korea leader “Rocket” man and his subsequent one basically stating that “my button is bigger than yours”, is scary. I mean if we launch ours and they launch theirs that could be the end for all of us.”
While I had their attention I asked them to reflect on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. I appreciated that they were aware of the importance of the date and how significant his contribution to the history of the United States has enabled them to live a better life than many of those who came before them.
I left the school and my visit with these future leaders with the knowledge that contrary to what we may have been led to believe they are not all lazy, entitled and self-absorbed. History dictates that young people have always led social change and today’s youth are no different. As they continue to find their purpose I have no doubt they will make life better for all of us.