The May 18th school shooting that killed 10 people in Santa Fe, Texas comes just three months after a gunman opened fire and killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. While the Florida shooting galvanized its students into activists for stricter gun control and sparked a national movement, teens in Texas have been less willing to point the finger at guns as the cause of mass violence. They argue that those who want to do harm will find ways around gun laws, and instead say issues such as school security and mental health issues should be examined.
The stark differences in their response reflect how the gun control debate has deeply divided the country. Will students across the nation who marched under the banner of #NeverAgain and spoke out against the National Rifle Association be able to sustain their movement? Will it have any impact on NRA-supporting politicians in the November mid-elections? Can student activism advance an agenda that adults have been unable to achieve?
Hofstra has experts who can help you put this movement, as well as the gun control debate behind it, into political and social context:
• Aashish Kumar, co-director of Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement, can discuss how student activism is crucial to the active citizenship that is at the heart of any thriving democracy.
• Tomeka Robinson, associate professor of rhetoric and director of Hofstra’s speech and debate team, can address the role of rhetoric and public advocacy in swaying public opinion and shaping policy.
• Alan Singer, professor in the School of Education and expert on social issues in public education, can discuss the measures proposed to improve school safety, including the president’s suggestion to arm school teachers. Professor Singer was also a high school teacher for 15 years.
• Constitutional law professor Eric Freedman can discuss the gun control debate as it relates to the Second Amendment.
Aashish Kumar Co-Director, Center for Civic Engagement
Prof. Kumar is a social action scholar who directs civic literacy at the Center for Civic Engagement; he is also a documentary filmmaker.
Tomeka Robinson Associate Professor of Rhetoric
Dr. Robinson directs Hofstra's award-winning forensics team and can discuss effective public debate and political rhetoric.
Alan J. Singer Professor of Teaching, Learning and Technology
Alan Singer specializes in social studies education and United States history.
Eric Freedman Professor of Law
Professor Freedman focuses on constitutional law and history, as well as the death penalty and habeas corpus