Golden Valley students demand safer schools during campus protest
Eleventh grade student Dean Douglas leads his peers in chants as students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal
By Christina Cox
Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Students throughout the country and throughout the William S. Hart Union High School District held demonstrations Wednesday to demand safer school campuses and stricter gun laws following a school shooting in Florida last week.

At Golden Valley High School, students stood in solidarity with survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting as they gathered at the center of their campus during their lunch hour and chanted phrases like “Children over Guns” and “No More Silence, Stop Gun Violence.”

Students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“I feel that the government needs to realize the problems and the issues. They need to fix this because it’s been happening for years,” demonstration organizer and Golden Valley junior Dean Douglas said. “In the ‘90s when Columbine happened, the government should have realized by then that this not okay and that one death should have been enough. They need to take action and students need to get angry and go to their local governments.”

Douglas chose to organize the district-wide demonstrations last Friday when he realized that he brushed the incident off as “just another school shooting.” But, after seeing social media posts from survivors of the Parkland school shooting, Douglas knew he wanted to do something to protest gun violence with his peers.

Students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“He realized that when he first heard about Florida, he didn’t think anything of it and it took him a moment. He thought ‘this is ridiculous’ and ‘I am so used to it that I don’t even have any feeling for it anymore.’ He decided to do something and he felt like his peers would feel the same,” said Jill Keidel, Douglas’ mother. “We’re all too used to this, it’s almost as if we’re watching it happen in another country so he rallied everyone together and he wanted to do it now because, unfortunately, interest wanes.”

Douglas also chose to host the rally Wednesday to coincide with a student-led march in Florida to the state’s capitol in Tallahassee where activists rallied against gun violence.

Eleventh grade student Dean Douglas leads his peers in chants as students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“Although we are across the nation, it affects us too,” Douglas said. “We don’t know if there could be a gunman on our campus; we don’t know if there could be a gunman on Canyon’s campus or on Valencia’s campus, we don’t know. We need to be aware and we need to fight for our right to be safe and to feel safe on our school campus.”

While students held up signs with the names of victims from school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their common rallying cry was for an end to gun violence and a demand for elected officials to listen.

A student bows her head during a moment of silence at a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“It makes me rethink what our school system cares about, what this government cares about because I’m supposed to come here and learn but our safety should come first in my opinion,” senior Jessica Peregrina, 17, said. “I had said protesting that you never know it’s going to be you until it happens.”

Others hoped their actions would impassion the community to come together to discuss current gun laws and future plans for change.

“It can’t just be one place to blame, it can’t just be blaming the kids,” freshman Jackson Richardson said. “It’s a whole community issue that everyone needs to take care of and address respectfully and maturely.”

A tearful student speaks to another during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

However, some students and parents realize that change may be an uphill battle, as they said the recent school shooting reminded them to discuss school security, to determine their classroom exit plans and to pay more attention during the school’s regular lockdown drills.

“I’m terrified of being at school sometimes because all of the shootings have happened and I don’t know where I stand in the future,” Peregrina said. “I make my own exit plan and I know where to go in every period and in every grade.”

But Douglas hopes the event inspired students to take action, participate in local government and fight for what they believe in.

A student connects his hands in prayer during a moment of silence at a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“I also hope that these protests help our local government officials realize that we will not stand idly by as our peers are killed for trying to gain an education,” Douglas said. “We will not stop until actions are taken to prevent these horrific and normalized crimes across the nation. We are the generation of fighters and we are letting our leaders know.”

Additional student walkouts and demonstrations are scheduled to occur nationwide throughout the remainder of the school year.

The leaders of the Women’s March are organizing a protest titled “ENOUGH: National School Walkout” on March 14 for schools and colleges throughout the country.

A month later on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, students throughout the country are expected to leave school as part of the National School Walkout for Anti-Gun Violence.

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

About the author

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.

Golden Valley students demand safer schools during campus protest

Students throughout the country and throughout the William S. Hart Union High School District held demonstrations Wednesday to demand safer school campuses and stricter gun laws following a school shooting in Florida last week.

At Golden Valley High School, students stood in solidarity with survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting as they gathered at the center of their campus during their lunch hour and chanted phrases like “Children over Guns” and “No More Silence, Stop Gun Violence.”

Students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“I feel that the government needs to realize the problems and the issues. They need to fix this because it’s been happening for years,” demonstration organizer and Golden Valley junior Dean Douglas said. “In the ‘90s when Columbine happened, the government should have realized by then that this not okay and that one death should have been enough. They need to take action and students need to get angry and go to their local governments.”

Douglas chose to organize the district-wide demonstrations last Friday when he realized that he brushed the incident off as “just another school shooting.” But, after seeing social media posts from survivors of the Parkland school shooting, Douglas knew he wanted to do something to protest gun violence with his peers.

Students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“He realized that when he first heard about Florida, he didn’t think anything of it and it took him a moment. He thought ‘this is ridiculous’ and ‘I am so used to it that I don’t even have any feeling for it anymore.’ He decided to do something and he felt like his peers would feel the same,” said Jill Keidel, Douglas’ mother. “We’re all too used to this, it’s almost as if we’re watching it happen in another country so he rallied everyone together and he wanted to do it now because, unfortunately, interest wanes.”

Douglas also chose to host the rally Wednesday to coincide with a student-led march in Florida to the state’s capitol in Tallahassee where activists rallied against gun violence.

Eleventh grade student Dean Douglas leads his peers in chants as students hold signs displaying the handwritten names of school shooting victims during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“Although we are across the nation, it affects us too,” Douglas said. “We don’t know if there could be a gunman on our campus; we don’t know if there could be a gunman on Canyon’s campus or on Valencia’s campus, we don’t know. We need to be aware and we need to fight for our right to be safe and to feel safe on our school campus.”

While students held up signs with the names of victims from school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their common rallying cry was for an end to gun violence and a demand for elected officials to listen.

A student bows her head during a moment of silence at a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“It makes me rethink what our school system cares about, what this government cares about because I’m supposed to come here and learn but our safety should come first in my opinion,” senior Jessica Peregrina, 17, said. “I had said protesting that you never know it’s going to be you until it happens.”

Others hoped their actions would impassion the community to come together to discuss current gun laws and future plans for change.

“It can’t just be one place to blame, it can’t just be blaming the kids,” freshman Jackson Richardson said. “It’s a whole community issue that everyone needs to take care of and address respectfully and maturely.”

A tearful student speaks to another during a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

However, some students and parents realize that change may be an uphill battle, as they said the recent school shooting reminded them to discuss school security, to determine their classroom exit plans and to pay more attention during the school’s regular lockdown drills.

“I’m terrified of being at school sometimes because all of the shootings have happened and I don’t know where I stand in the future,” Peregrina said. “I make my own exit plan and I know where to go in every period and in every grade.”

But Douglas hopes the event inspired students to take action, participate in local government and fight for what they believe in.

A student connects his hands in prayer during a moment of silence at a demonstration at Golden Valley High on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“I also hope that these protests help our local government officials realize that we will not stand idly by as our peers are killed for trying to gain an education,” Douglas said. “We will not stop until actions are taken to prevent these horrific and normalized crimes across the nation. We are the generation of fighters and we are letting our leaders know.”

Additional student walkouts and demonstrations are scheduled to occur nationwide throughout the remainder of the school year.

The leaders of the Women’s March are organizing a protest titled “ENOUGH: National School Walkout” on March 14 for schools and colleges throughout the country.

A month later on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, students throughout the country are expected to leave school as part of the National School Walkout for Anti-Gun Violence.

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

About the author

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.