School Climate & Safety News in Brief

Activists’ Agenda Turns to Voting

By Evie Blad — June 12, 2018 2 min read
Cameron Kasky, a Parkland, Fla., school shooting survivor, talks about a multistate voter drive to “get young people educated, registered, and motivated to vote.”
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Students who launched a youth movement for stronger gun laws after surviving a mass shooting at their Parkland, Fla., high school have kicked off a nationwide tour aimed at registering young voters.

The student organizers of March for Our Lives plan 75 stops in cities around the country and a separate tour that stops in every Florida congressional district. The Road to Change Tour will seek to build on enthusiasm generated by school walkouts and rallies for new gun laws that followed the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died Feb. 14.

Their aim? Drive up voter participation in the 2018 midterms, especially among young voters, who tend to have lower turnout.

“I think a lot of people have been less excited about voting because they are tired of the political system,” Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky said at a press conference announcing the voter drive. “But the thing is, we can fix the political system. Our generation and the many generations that are helping us can change the game. We do not have to surrender to dirty, awful politics. We can make it better.”

“Academics who study the gun control movement say gun rights activists often refuse to consider candidates who don’t agree with them on that issue. But voters who favor stronger gun laws often consider the issue among a list of political concerns when selecting a candidate.

Robert Spitzer, a political science professor at SUNY Cortland who has written five books on the gun debate, told Education Week that the key for student activists is convincing voters who favor tougher gun restrictions to make it a higher priority issue at the polls. They must also convert the energy of young people into votes, he said.

“What happens typically [after a shooting] is that that energy and that sentiment on the gun safety side subsides,” Spitzer said. “Mostly because while most Americans favor stronger gun laws, it’s not a top tier issue for them.”

The demand for new gun laws is not unanimous among those affected by school shootings.

Some in Parkland, including some victims’ family members, have said that an ambitious push for new gun laws is a distraction from more achievable goals, like new school safety measures. Some have championed both new gun laws and new safety efforts.

In Santa Fe, Texas, the site of a May school shooting that claimed 10 lives, students were less likely to respond with a push for new firearms restrictions.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2018 edition of Education Week as Activists’ Agenda Turns to Voting

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center Higher Student Morale Linked to In-Person Instruction, Survey Shows
Educators see student morale rising since last spring, according to a new EdWeek Research Center survey.
4 min read
Second-grade students raise their hands during a math lesson with teacher Carlin Daniels at Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden, Conn., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.
Second grade students raise their hands during a math lesson in Meriden, Conn., Sept. 30.
Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP
School Climate & Safety Law Against 'Disorderly Conduct' in Schools Led to Unfair Student Arrests, Judge Rules
The South Carolina ruling is a model for other states where students are still being arrested for minor incidents, an attorney said.
6 min read
Scales of justice and Gavel on wooden table.
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock
School Climate & Safety A Rise in School Shootings Leads to Renewed Calls for Action
A return to in-person learning means a return to school shootings, advocates warn.
5 min read
Families depart the Mansfield ISD Center For The Performing Arts Center where families were reunited with Timberview High School Students, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Mansfield, Texas. Police in Texas have arrested a student suspected of opening fire during a fight at his Dallas-area high school, leaving four people injured.
Families were reunited Oct. 6 in Mansfield, Texas, after a student opened fire at Timberview High School in Arlington, leaving four people injured. Data show that the start of this school year has been particularly violent compared to previous years.
Tony Gutierrez/AP
School Climate & Safety TikTok Challenge to Slap a Teacher Prompts Urgent Warning
The slapping challenge, which so far has not been widespread, has put educators across the country on alert.
Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times
3 min read
The icon for TikTok pictured in New York on Feb. 25, 2020.
The icon for TikTok pictured in New York on Feb. 25, 2020.
AP