What is Students Demand Action?

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What is Students Demand Action?

The current active members of Students Demand Action pose for their yearbook photo.

The current active members of Students Demand Action pose for their yearbook photo.

Photo courtesy of Yearbook

The current active members of Students Demand Action pose for their yearbook photo.

Photo courtesy of Yearbook

Photo courtesy of Yearbook

The current active members of Students Demand Action pose for their yearbook photo.

Eleanor Kay, Staff Reporter

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On February 14, 2018, the school shooting in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took place, rallying students across the country to fight for gun control and to end gun violence. One of the many student groups formed was the Students Demand Action club, here at Mason. Inspired by a need for better school safety, the group and its leaders are working harder every day to fight for a more secure environment.

It was made to bring together high schoolers to fight for better school safety. The first meeting, on February 28, 2018, brought over 50 students of all grades together all fighting for the same thing.

After the initial meeting, students in the club brainstormed ideas of things they wanted to see changed with Mason’s security system and the leaders, Amanda Byrne, Eleanor Kay (the author), Elly Loyd, Kaia Jefferson, Ciara Curtin, and Rachel Doornbosch, brought the issues to Mr. Hills and the administration. Some issues they chose to focus on were making sure students knew not to open doors for other people, no matter if they knew them or not, making sure all the exit doors locked and were secure, and organizing informational sessions for students so they could get a better idea of what was going on.

At the same time, the leaders came across an active shooter drill system that they thought would be more appropriate than the lockdown drills already practiced by the school district. They also brought that up to Mr. Hills. This year teachers began training for what is called the First 12 Minutes. The Students Demand Action club worked with administration heavily on this and helped inform the community about what the First 12 Minutes system would involve.

“I think the most accomplished thing that we’ve had so far is working with the administration and being the number one group that gets to work directly with the administration and the student body at the same time in implementing this new training,” junior leader Kaia Jefferson said.

In March of 2018, Students Demand Action organized activities for the national walk out a month after the Parkland shooting. They had speakers out on the field talking about the victims of the shooting. They also organized a walkout on April 20, 2018, for the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. Students had the opportunity to walk out of school during Mustang Block and use chalk to write messages on the sidewalks in front of the school. Many people participated in both of these events.

“One of the main goals of our club is to promote student-to-student awareness on issues concerning gun violence, as well as further the dialogue on what we can do to change that, with the main focus on school safety. We want to highlight how important it is for people to understand that our mission is not supposed to be political, but rather a conversation on how to keep us all, as students and as humans, safe,” junior leader Ciara Curtin said.

If you would like to join the Students Demand Action club and fight for your school’s safety, you can email any of the leaders to join, everyone is welcome!