Congressman applauds students' gun violence protest

March 05, 2018 06:44 PM

It has been nearly three weeks since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School claimed the lives of 17 people.

Last week, about 200 Pittsfield and Taconic High School students walked out in protest of gun violence. Now, they are being applauded by a congressman.

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Congressman Richard Neal met with students of Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School to acknowledge and honor their actions last Thursday when they walked out in protest of gun violence.

Congressman Neal told the students they should take advantage of the awful tragic events and use the momentum they've created to continue to speak out and make their voices heard to lawmakers.

The roundtable was a conversation about civic engagement and the students asked the congressman various questions about mental health, how to broach topics of guns and gun violence with other people and how to best prevent future mass casualty school shootings.

Congressman Neal also encouraged the students to express their views about reasonable gun measures so they can bring out change not just within their school, but also within their communities.

"We should be taking some steps in the direction of making sure we know who owns what. It is not any threat to civil liberties or individual liberty. There is no suggestion here that we're going to undo the Second Amendment. The sportsman and the hunter that act within the framework of the law, which overwhelmingly they do for the most part, I think that those are considerations that should prevail," explained Neal.

"We are really encouraged by his ideas of the mental health illness and the background checks and him encouraging us to keep on doing what we're doing – like speaking out and wanting to make change not only within our schools, not only within our communities, but as we're going to [Washington] D.C. and keeping our voice heard," added Olivia Nda, a Pittsfield High School student.

Olivia says students will participate in a walk out and a 17-minute moment of silence on March 14 at 10 a.m. Later that afternoon at 2:30 p.m., they'll head to Park Square in Pittsfield to engage the community in a conversation about guns.

Finally, on March 24, some of the students will make the trip to Washington to walk in the nationally planned "March for Our Lives."


WNYT Staff

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