LOS ANGELES — The response from the Los Angeles community, just shy of three weeks after the Sal Castro Middle School shooting and one week after the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has been mixed.
Five hundred parents and students spent Presidents’ Day rallying at Pershing Square to tighten gun laws and make it harder for children and teens to have access to guns. Some of the signs protesters held said, “Resist the NRA” and “Our children are counting on you.”
But when asked if her students had voiced fear of their school being next, Vice Principal Sherrie Quinn of Augustus F. Hawkins High School said, “I think my students may be, not immune, but … desensitized because they experience a lot of trauma in this community anyways.”
Had any students come to her with concerns of safety? “A lot of the times, at this age, the student will just have that discussion with their homeroom teachers, or any teachers they feel comfortable with,” she said. “… if it’s heavy on the students’ minds, or even the teachers’ minds, they’ll have that conversation.”
On the higher education front, the University of Southern California’s office of the president said they had made no effort so far to support the Parkland community.
Culver City High School senior Chase Joyner says he will be supporting all student efforts to focus attention on gun control but doesn’t feel it will truly be effective. “Gun violence will never end in America. There’s really not a lot anyone can do about it … people are always going to find a way to get guns.”
Despite the shock he felt when he first heard of the shooting, it hasn’t affected how he feels going to school every day.
Hailey Winograd, a junior at Notre Dame Academy, felt a more personal connection to the Parkland shooting because a friend from a summer program attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Her friend survived unhurt. Winograd expresses sympathy for her friend and classmates who had to endure such a horrific experience.
“I felt sorrowful entering campus and attending classes [the next day], thinking that the same thing could very easily happen in my own community, and I could lose people close to me,” she said.
Los Angeles will hold March for Our Lives on March 24, the same day as the national event in Washington. Many other cities are planning similar events.
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