High School Students: We Want To Be “Noticed” On Gun Control

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Finding inspiration in other student protests across the country, over one hundred Athens High School students skipped class on Friday to protest for stricter gun regulations on the Athens County courthouse steps.

Many students, some as young as 14 years old, called for specific regulations like raising the age one can purchase a firearm. Many were also against potentially arming teachers, like some legislators have proposed.

“I don’t want to arm teachers. I have told many of my teachers that if they’re going to be armed, I’m just going to be homeschooled,” Nellie Sullivan, Junior Class President who organized the protest, said. “I just want people to notice us. I want people to see that even though we are a small school, we still have a big voice.”

Some parents accompanied their kids in support of their protest, with a few worried about their safety from potential harassment. Mindy King, the mother of one of the students protesting, wants the students’ voices to be taken seriously.

“I’ll hear people complain about young people today. As far as this generation being slackers and this generation being irresponsible, ‘you’re wrong.’ These kids are amazing. And I see it every day,” King said.

Athens High School Principal David Hanning in an email to parents and students said while the school district administration do not condone students skipping class to protest, the administration understands the students’ desire “to be involved in this very important national conversation.”

This protest follows a resolution sent by Sullivan to Athens County commissioners asking them to consider stricter gun regulations.

Athens County Commissioner Charlie Adkins, who was at the protest, said more conversation needs to happen on what are the best actions forward.

“I didn’t expect the kids to be as vocal as this, which is a good thing,” Atkins said. “I think we need some laws changed. I do believe in the right to [concealed] carry. I think there’s more room for improvement, and hopefully, this will bring it on.”

It remains to be seen what actions legislators will take on a state and federal level.

WOSU reports as of late February, 22 gun-related bills were moving through the Ohio state legislature. Republican Senate president Larry Obhof said talks on specific actions regarding school safety measures are still “preliminary.”