Students should be encouraged and supported to become politically active

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With the news coverage of the shooting at the Parkland school quieting down, there is still quite a bit of coverage on something that has not been seen in previous shootings: students nationwide are protesting for gun control. However, instead of being cheered on for utilizing the tragedy for a good purpose, some students are being punished by their school authorities for voicing and defending their political beliefs.

As usual, as soon as coverage of the shooting began, arguments about the banning of guns in the U.S. between those against more gun regulations and those in favor for such additions began. Controversial conversations also arose in regard to the students and their families, debating whether they should simply mourn instead of making the tragedy political. Yet as soon as the victims and their families began protesting, many voices turned their attention to the students, saying they should not be protesting.

An article from The New York Times reported that some students went immediately from funerals of their friends to protesting. Students have seemingly acknowledged their influence and importance as survivors, as they are the ones in the best position to fight for better gun laws. Students have also made it clear that they will not be silenced, regardless of a lack of support.

One of the major messages Parkland students are giving in their protests is that they are children. As children, they should not have to worry about being killed by a shooter in their schools. They should not have to worry about buying bulletproof backpacks or having armed teachers in classrooms. They should, on the other hand, have everyone’s support for, at the very least, becoming politically active. They should be able to speak their minds about these all-too-common tragedies.

Students are bravely acting upon their political beliefs. Risking persecution and other consequences given by their schools. These students deserve the country’s support, regardless of differing views. Rather than shaming the children who want to fight for positive change, parents, teachers and everyone else should be advocating with them. The fact that students are having to fight after something like this in the first place says more about the U.S. and its problems than many would like to admit.