Multigenerational Reflections on the Current Culture of School Violence

Shared below is one of several reflections from the service.

Hi. My name is North Lovelady-Allen and I”m going to talk about young people’s place in this fight against gun violence that we’ve been having for about this past month.

About a month ago, I don’t remember the exact date, but it was a few days after the Parkland shooting. I was in gym class. It was a day like any other. I was playing basketball with my friends when the gym teachers told us to go sit down in the bleachers. We thought it was punishment because we had been a little rowdy. But we had been sitting there longer than usual. The bell had already rang, they told us that we couldn’t go.

It turns out, I didn’t know at the time, but it turns out that one student had told a teacher that another student had a gun. It was just a rumor, that’s all it was. We sat there in the bleachers for two hours straight, scared not knowing what would happen to us. It’s terrible because one person told one teacher that something could happen and everyone in that entire middle school sat there for two hours straight. Is this really the world we want to live in, where just a simple rumor sits everyone down? Where we have to have lockdown drills every month just to keep our children safe?

About a month later – you probably heard about the national walkout on March 14. Well, my school was signed up to do it and I was very excited. But then we got a permission slip. We were doing a field trip on the same day, at the same time. The whole sixth grade was going. I was going too. So, I organized a little walkout. We were going to a movie and I and about 10 people walked out of the movie theater for the same 17 minutes that everybody else was going to. Some people didn’t go though. I tried to get them to go but they wouldn’t. They didn’t want to miss the movie. They didn’t want to miss 17 minutes of that movie.

If we want to make a change in this world don’t you think we need to be able to be willing to miss things? We’re going to need to miss things a couple of times. It’s just something that happens. This world, this country, needs to change. We need to change so a rumor doesn’t have everybody in the school sitting in a shelter in place for two hours longer than they should be. We need to change so that we aren’t having monthly lockout drills just to try to keep our children safe from guns. We need to change so that people sit and watch it happen just so they don’t miss 17 minutes of a movie. Most of us had already seen the movie. Thank you