2018-03-22 / Front Page

Middletown Student to March on DC

By Christopher Allen

For some, the youth-led national movement to reform gun laws and put an end to school shootings may have seemed like just part of another news cycle that national attention would swiftly move away from. But area students are joining student activists and established gun-reform advocacy groups on Saturday, March 24 for the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of thousands are expected to take part, while other marches are planned in cities and towns throughout the country.

On the heels of the national school walkout on March 14, where thousands of students left their classrooms or engaged in other forms of protest, the D.C. march and its sister-marches indicate that organized action may just be getting started.

In fact, an April 20 walk-out has already been announced to coincide with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine, Colorado shootings, which took place at Columbine High School in 1999.

Middletown High School junior Jessica Sabatino, a member of her school’s student government who helped organize its “walk-in” to coincide with the numerous walkouts across the country, will be among the thousands this weekend who will be marching along Pennsylvania Avenue at noon.

“School is becoming a life or death situation,” Sabatino said.

“We do have a say because our lives are on the line,” she said. “And it’s not just us. It is the teachers who are going to have to work at the school after we leave.”

Sabatino is no stranger to the nation’s capital. Although this will be her first participation in a national march for gun control, she attended both the Women’s March and the March for Science, in January and April 2017, respectively.

Asked her feelings on the proposal to arm teachers, Sabatino was unconvinced it would be helpful.

“My school couldn’t even afford planners this year, I don’t think we should be giving them [teachers] weapons. And not only that, three in four teachers are totally uncomfortable with that… they expect the teachers to shoot someone? Someone who [may be or may have been] one of their students?

“It’s appalling,” she added. “It should be common sense that it’s not a good solution at all.”

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