An Open Letter to the Student Body
by Maddie Foerster
As I struggled to figure out how to start off this letter, I found my unfortunate answer. On April 3, a woman went into YouTube’s headquarters in California, and with a gun, wounded three workers, and then took her own life.
But somehow, I was not startled. In fact, I was almost unphased. Gun violence in America is a commonality now more than ever. Even closer to home, shootings in our schools are something that our generation has grown up knowing. And I’m sick of it.
If you were born in 2000, as most of the senior class was, then you have been alive for 207 school shootings. Let that number sink in.
The second amendment was not written so one could own a semi-automatic weapon. Our first amendment rights will help to regulate the second amendment. An amendment written in 1791, when muskets, bayonets, and cannons were used for self protection, before a police force was implemented.
Some may brush it off, and think it may never happen to them, which may be true. But it’s happening to others around the country, people who walk into school and never walk out, just like you and I. Sitting back and being indifferent through all of this is just as detrimental to this movement, and that’s why we need change. I am unapologetic for voicing my opinion on this issue. It is no longer political, but moral.
In order for change to occur, East Lyme, needs a plan. And I, with three steps, am calling you, the student body, to action.
First, we need initiative and leaders from everywhere. Every grade. Yes, I am talking to you. We need leaders from all over, not just AP Government and US History. We need the captain of the football team. The president of full senate. The leaders of the Makers Club. Chikumbuso. We need all walks of life to get the movement into full motion, to really make a change.
Second, we need those leaders and representatives to attend town halls, organize events, and plan what’s next. We need to positively peer pressure others into stepping out of their comfort zone and to stop indifference. We need student representation to want change for change to occur. This is not about our political views as much as moral views and thinking in the terms of “this could have been us.”
Walkouts, marches, and boycotts are some of the ways that the icons of the civil rights movement helped to propel their cause forward and amend the Constitution. Indifference fuels nothing, but power in numbers fuels change.
Third, we need education. We should demand education about what has been invading the one place a student should feel secure. Why do we want to ban bumpstocks? Why should universal background checks be necessary? Yes, I am passionate about this and have done my research, but for those of us who are not as compelled to do so, the sentiment gets lost in words that only avid gun advocates may recognize. We need to educate our student body on all aspects of gun control.
I know I will never reach everyone. But I hope that I was able to reach at least one person with this letter.
We have the ears of our Congres. They’re listening. This is our time, as a whole, to make change. It may feel like now we may be doing nothing, but with time, change will come. This is our job as a generation to do something.
Contact me: email@example.com or come to Room A225!