(This is the first editorial written by members of the Compass Editorial Board made up of senior student reports and the Editor of the Compass site.  The views do not necessarily represent the NCSD.)

A growing movement focused on school violence and billed as  #NationalSchoolWalkout is being called for on April 20th, coinciding with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. The plan calls for high school students to walk out of their school and not to come back until Congress updates the gun laws.

On March 24th, another walkout being organized by the Women’s March. “…calls for a 17-minute walk-out at 10 a.m. across each time zone to “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.” Participants all over the country hope that their voices will be heard and their actions will be acknowledged. “Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day,” say the petitioners.

   On February 14th, 2018 a school shooting occurred at Stoneman Majority Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. A former student, Nikolas Cruz  is accused of killing seventeen people. This was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Cruz was charged with seventeen counts of premeditated murder. The FBI received information in September of 2017 and January of  2018 about Cruz’s threats to shoot students at the school but the FBI ignored the calls from neighbors and others. According to the New York Times, “There were tips to the F.B.I. about disturbing social media posts. There were visits by social services to his home. There were dozens of calls to 911 and the local authorities, some mentioning fears that he was capable of violence.”

After the tragic shooting at in Parkland, Florida, conversations about our country’s gun policies began to erupt. Donald Trump was “devastated”, sharing ideas he believed could end the violence. “One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said. “There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.” he explained. Donald Trump expresses his ideas, even though millions disagree according to a recent poll cited by CNN. Three years ago, Trump said, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun”. Even after this tragic incident, his initial beliefs are still apparently intact.

For school shootings to be prevented in the future, we must strengthen our gun laws.  This can mean changing the language in the second amendment. Improving mental health care can make a big difference in our society. Improving school security can make one of the biggest differences. Simple backpack checks and random locker checks can prevent violence in schools. Cutting down the violence in the media includes bullying. We have to respect one another and notice when things aren’t right. Reporting suspicious actions and other signs to a trusted adult could save lives.  

The Sabin Schellenberg Broadcasting class will be hosting a live Town Hall Forum   called “Lockdown” airing on Comcast Channels 27 and 28 on March 21st 10:30-11:30am. The main segments include student reactions to the Florida shooting and information on local and national school shootings. The Mayor of Milwaukie and Congressman Kurt Schrader are expected to be a part of the broadcast.  We urge local viewers to tune in and listen.