On April 20, 2018, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, students across the nation will walk out of their classrooms in protest of their leaders’ failure to pass laws protecting them from gun violence.
Just last month, hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and supporters rallied in Washington DC, for March for Our Lives, led by a group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. These students, some of the latest to be affected by gun violence in schools, are using their voices to inspire change.
John Meisner, Assistant Professor of Education at Southern Utah University and advocate for students on and off campus, recently voiced his concerns and support.
“As a voting adult, I’m horrified that this problem has only been getting worse since the Columbine High School tragedy, and our elected leaders pretend that there is nothing that can be done. We have countless laws that have been enacted regarding public safety, and yet for this one, we do nothing.”
Meisner recommends that as parents, mentors, and peers, we should support the efforts of these students.
“I’m hugely proud of these students for refusing to accept this inaction and taking matters into their own hands. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen such organization and movement by high school and junior high school students. They’re often disrespected as ‘entitled’ and ‘lazy,’ but this latest tragedy has mobilized this population into action. We’re seeing youthfulness and enthusiasm combined with a social media savvy that is a powerful force. I think that as adults we should be proud of these efforts and support them fully.”
Students crave relevance in their school work and lives. According to Meisner, the walkout is a perfect example of this.
“I’m hopeful that they will not relent on the pressure until something is done. Maybe with this new movement, the Parkland tragedy will be the last.”
“As educators, we should not only be concerned about the physical well-being of our students but should also see that their academic wellbeing is important too. They will be fully invested in topics that matter to them.”
John Meisner has a deep love of education and a passion for teaching. Meisner also serves on the Allies on Campus committee working to support LBGTQ+ students and faculty through social events and educational outreach. He is familiar with the media and available for an interview. Simply visit his profile.
John Meisner Assistant Professor, Teacher Education/Director COEHD Accreditation
Specializing in content area literacy, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and second language and curriculum development