High School Reform

STUDENT VOICE: ‘The children of America aren’t going to wait any longer for the country’s adults to lead’

A New Jersey high school student explains why he and his classmates are acting against gun violence

Fort Lauderdale, FL — In the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, protesters attend a Feb. 17, 2018 rally at the Federal Courthouse here to demand government action on firearms.

Fort Lauderdale, FL — In the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, protesters attend a Feb. 17, 2018 rally at the Federal Courthouse here to demand government action on firearms.

Enough is enough.

Instead of standing on the sidelines waiting for someone else to take action after the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, my classmates and I have gone ahead and taken action ourselves.

The children of America aren’t going to wait any longer for the country’s adults to lead.

That is my conviction and it keeps me going in this fight for a better and safer world, for all students, teachers and administrators.

That is why here at Belleville High School, we’re determined to take the lead as students walk out of school March 14 to protest gun violence.

I started both a Facebook and an Instagram page for everyone here at my high school and my state, New Jersey, as a whole.

I’ve contacted and coordinated with multiple other students across this great state and nation who have put their foot down on mass murder.

We want to make it clear that the time for inaction and abdication is no longer.

Now is the time to come together, a coalescence of all Americans: students, teachers, administrators and parents.

And with that as our guiding star, we go forward on the path to change.

With speakers such as representatives for New Jersey’s U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, an official statement from Congressman Albio Sires, and other local politicians and students, our event will be remembered for a long time.

I have also reached out, on behalf of the student body and community here at Belleville, to the brave students and staff of MSD, to voice our support for them.

Our event is much like this movement.

It’s an inclusive, proactive, and decisive gathering in solidarity and support of this quest for safer schools, and of the common sense gun reform we need.

We aren’t going to stand by and wait any longer.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for our newsletter.

Frank Velez is 16 years old and a junior at Belleville High School in New Jersey.

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Frank Velez

Frank Velez is 16 years old and a junior at Belleville High School in New Jersey. See Archive

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