Students participate in panel to discuss school safety

The Tribune-Review recently held a student-led forum on school safety at Westmoreland County Community College. The forum was meant to address political movements and the activism that came about as a reaction to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that occurred on Feb. 14.

The panel consisted of seven high school students from various districts in the Westmoreland county area that have been active in student led events regarding school safety and addressing the topic of gun control.

One of the seven student panelists was Southmoreland sophomore Olivia Robertucci.

“I was glad I went; it gave me a lot of ideas on how we can take this movement further,” Robertucci said.

Nick Secosky of Mount Pleasant suggested the idea of everyone in the school writing to their representatives. “I think it would be great to carry that over to here and allow our students to do this,” he said.

Besides the national walkout day for anti-gun violence, other topics related to school safety were discussed.

“Arming teachers was discussed but the whole consensus was that wasn’t a great idea, even the moderator didn’t agree with that,” said Robertucci. “We also briefly discussed  arming security guards but that’s also somewhat flawed because we’d rather eliminate guns on school property in general.”

There have been 533, 879 firearm related deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2016. In the United States, guns are the overall number one cause of homicide and suicide and rank number 12 in causes of deaths in general. In 2016, there were 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

While other attacks have been conducted without the use of a firearm, such as the 2014 Franklin Regional stabbing which left 20 people injured, there were no deaths, whereas there have been over 400 firearm related deaths in schools since 2012.

Other countries that have instilled gun control such as Australia have seen a massive decline in shooting deaths with there being a decrease of 23 percent from 1996 to 2013.

“We’re not talking about banning guns; we just want it to be harder to obtain a weapon,” Robertucci said. “We want in depth background checks, waiting periods and common sense laws. We don’t want to abolish the second amendment, we want to to be reformed.”

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