Why I Decided To Protest

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Why I Decided To Protest

By Divitya Vakil, News Editor

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It’s sad to me that some see Parkland as “yet another school shooting.” Politicians tweet their condolences without taking any action to combat the threat that guns pose to our society. Instead, they retreat back to their safe, protected homes and workplaces, leaving families, students, and locals to grieve on their own. Parents no longer feel safe sending their children to school, students walk the halls with fear creeping up their spines, and housing markets fluctuate as families try to leave their neighborhood. 

Avoiding the problem is not the solution.

This tragedy was different. It’s a hard thing to describe, but this feeling has been channeled into teens–at Niles West and nationwide–who are speaking out for legislative changes. We are criticizing how the country has reached this point in the first place. We are making demands. Loudly. 

Teens, my very own peers, are at the forefront of this movement. So on Feb. 23, 2018, I chose to prioritize the protest over attending my sixth-period class. To my teacher’s chagrin, I missed a important class project that required my participation. My teacher and my peers depended on me. My grade may suffer as a result, and I’m OK with that. It’s worth it. 

I am very aware that many of my peers seized this protest as an opportunity to ditch class, and some even went home. I am also aware that many students’ teachers began emailing them, demanding they come to class or else they would receive F’s, which prompted many to rush back inside in fear for their grades. 

Grades mean nothing when an 18-year-old can purchase a gun but cannot set foot into a bar.

Grades mean nothing when kids are growing up with the mentality that school shootings are normal.

Grades mean nothing when our president is proposing the absurd idea of having teachers carry arms into their classrooms.

Grades mean nothing in comparison to all of the families replaying the last words they said to their loved ones before they were shot down by a maniac with a gun.

This protest may not have “achieved anything,” but it’s a step in the right direction, and I am willing to keep walking.