Students at South Broward High School in Hollywood organized a gun control protest outside school grounds Friday, two days after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 people.
From the morning bell at 8 a.m. till past the last bell of the day, students and a few faculty members held posters and chanted, “It could have been us” and “It can still be us.”
South Broward is about half an hour away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a 19-year-old opened fire on Wednesday, killing 17.
Timothy LaRoque, 18, and Gregory St. Leon, 18, are both seniors at South Broward High. They grew up with Carmen Schentrup, one of the 17 killed during the shooting. They agree assault weapons should not be accessible outside the war arena and repeatedly said politicians are to blame.
“[Politicians] need to realize what is happening with the impact they have with the choices they make with their reforms. Their lack of gun reform is why my friend Carmen Schentrup is dead,” said LaRoque.
Among the crowd, one student stood out; he was holding a megaphone and leading the chants. Samuel, Abello, 16, joined the protest around the 8.a.m. morning bell. He saif the overall reaction of his classmates is fear and said it’s the community’s responsibility to change that.
"There are a lot of kids out here that are really scared, and I just want to show them that we cant be afraid of what happens and we just have to fight for our safety,” said Abello.
Gabrielle Scheinert, 16, said she’s most concerned about students’ mental health, even for those who don't attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“In my history class, [Thursday], there was a kid who was kind of nervous. He kept saying ‘there are so many bodies. This is what it looks like.’ I don't think any kid should have to think about that,” Scheinert said.
She also raised the question of mental health background checks prior to gun purchases, a suggestion many students raised. Currently in the state of Florida, mental health records are kept private and are not available during background checks for gun purchases.