On Oct. 19 through Oct. 21, social studies teacher Emily Muellenberg, senior and Falcons For Progress president Maddie Crea, and senior Niaz Jamshidi traveled to Washington D.C to attend the Student Gun Violence Summit. At this summit, Muellenberg, Crea, and Jamshidi, along with about 100 students and 50 educators from across the United States, assembled to discuss the gun issues in America.
While in Washington D.C, these 150 students and educators wrote a students’ bill of rights for schools across the country to reduce gun violence. When talking about the students’ bill of rights, Crea said, “It’s 15 points put together about what students want to see changed in our education system in terms of school safety, community safety, mental health, and legislation.”
This Student Gun Violence Summit was created after the Parkland shooting occurred in 2018. A group of students from organizations such as Students Demand Action and March For Our Lives came together to create a student advisory board to plan the Student Gun Violence Summit. “From the beginning, the end goal was to have a document that said how students feel,” Crea said, “and it’s not just about students that have survived from school shootings, but also kids that are allies and from places all around the country.”
Muellenberg, who is an active member of The American Federation of Teachers, was introduced to the idea of attending this event from the president of the American Federation of Teachers. The president thought it would be good if Muellenberg went, knowing that she works with many student advocacy groups. Mullenberg said, “She thought that if I went, I could help connect the group of kids who might be the right kids to send forward into this project.”
Muellenberg also discovered that she had a passion for the Student Gun Violence Summit. “To me, gun violence is not a partisan issue. To me, it’s not about the second amendment. It’s about the requirement that Americans help keep each other safe, and I figure in a school, we’re all at risk all the time, and that is just an uncomfortable feeling, and if I can help in any small way, I’m in.”
Since returning from the conference, Mullenberg, Crea, and Jamshidi look to bring the information they learned from the summit back to HR. Crea said, “FFP is going to start working towards promoting this issue, gun violence, and the first thing is educating people.” She went on to elaborate on how she doesn’t want it to be a partisan issue. She said, “It doesn’t have to be a liberal idea or a conservative idea; it’s just keeping kids safe in school.”
Muellenberg hopes to continue her involvement with the Student Gun Violence Summit in the future. She said, “This means enough to me, and especially after working with these kids, I owe it to them to keep it going. I can’t let them down.”
Evan Naemura, Online Editor