Sunday Reflections: When Adults Fail, the Teens will Save Themselves
On February 14th, there was another school shooting. This was the 18th school shooting in 2018 and 17 people were sadly and tragically taken from this mortal coil too soon. But this school shooting, or more precisely what is happening after this school shooting, is different. This time, teens are stepping up to the microphone and demanding change. When the adults in power have failed to save them time and time again, the teens have decided to demand change. The teens are going to save themselves, and save us all in the process.
Soon after the Parkland shooting, TLTer Heather Booth shared this important thread on Twitter with her own high school experience with tragedy and how the adults responded to it are different than how the adults respond to school shootings:
I have a thing to say about growing up after tragedy. When I was a senior in high school, 7 of my classmates were killed & 24 injured. It was an awful day full of fear, confusion, & pain. Press swarmed. News helicopters hovered overhead all day filming footage of the carnage. 1/
— Heather Booth (@boothheather) February 16, 2018
And she’s right, when it comes to school shootings, we have failed our kids time and time again. Currently the CDC is legally barred from even studying the epidemic of gun violence. At the same time, lawmakers are already talking about how to stop teens from eating Tide pods.
Author Maureen Johnson asked teens on Twitter to share with her how adults are failing teens, and they responded:
Open thread, teens only please (up to and including 18). Please tell me, because adults are failing you, what are YOUR feelings about gun violence and gun control? Only teen voices, please.
— Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) February 16, 2018
So the kids – teens in this case – have been very vocal. They are demanding action. They are using social media and the access they have to a platform and demanding that we listen. And listen we must.
Listen to teens like Emma Gonzales, Kyra and more. I am providing a link to one tweet each so you can find them on Twitter and read what they have been saying, how they are demanding that we act. They are writing their elected officials, asking us to sign petitions, and staging protests.
Today I rallied at the federal courthouse in broward, alongside fellow survivors. pic.twitter.com/LPCWSdIbIR
— sarah // #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 17, 2018
despite having our hearts ripped out of our chests. Despite losing our friends and coaches. Despite living through a nightmare. As students of Douglas, we are the voice of this generation. And I’ll be damned if anyone thinks they can silence us.
— kyra (@longlivekcx) February 18, 2018
Scariest part of it all was knowing my little brother was right above me and not knowing if I would ever see him again. I’ve never really treated him the way he deserved. Not anymore. Seeing his face outside of school was the most relief I had ever felt. My prayers to all. pic.twitter.com/Iq8CHVNXd0
— Uncle Sam Zeif #Douglasstrong (@SzZeif) February 15, 2018
— lucy (@lucy_rosenblum) February 17, 2018
17-year-old Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Kasky says he thinks lawmakers are using the mental health discussion "to get out of discussing gun control" https://t.co/fJgEpM6H1O https://t.co/UKG56OLypU
— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2018
"In the familiar aftermath of America’s latest mass shooting, something new stood out: This time, the kids who survived the rampage on Wednesday were demanding to know why the adults who run the country had not done more to prevent it." https://t.co/7NIfQIjEtm
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 16, 2018
Many are also in the midst of organizing a National School Walkout. I am the parent of a teenager who has already twice had to debate whether or not to send my child to school in the midst of a social media threat of gun violence at her school. I have told her that I support her participating in the walkout if she chooses and she will not get in trouble at home for standing up for what she believes in.
On Friday, April 20th we want students to attend school and then promptly WALK-OUT at 10:00 am. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. "We are students, we are victims, we are change."
— National School Walkout (@schoolwalkoutUS) February 17, 2018
I will say that I have noticed since the 2016 election that my teens are more politically involved and active then they have been in past years, and I’ve worked with teens for 24 years. Something has shifted. We need to be listening.
Filed under: Sunday Reflections
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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