Shooting tragedy response inspires classroom lesson at Gulfport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Shooting tragedy response inspires classroom lesson at Gulfport High

Teacher Hardy Thames, left, helps a student with research on a gun bill to be presented. Teacher Hardy Thames, left, helps a student with research on a gun bill to be presented.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Tragedy has inspired a classroom lesson.

Gulfport High School students are learning about the law-making process by writing bills that would address gun laws.

After the recent student-led protest in Florida, government teacher Hardy Thames is hoping the biggest news headlines of the day will make his lesson stick with his students.

“I just want my students to have the vocabulary when they care about an issue. It might not be this one. They have the vocabulary to talk about it, and they understand how the process works to effect change,” Thames said.

But his effort is to be practical, not political.

“They have their own opinions. And my job is to help them be responsible for their opinions, and just have research, and be able to articulate what their position is without making enemies of one another."

About 40 students will research bills, write them, and present them next week in a mock legislative session.

Each will have to make a speech in support of their bill and be prepared to defend their points.

“Students coming out and speaking up on it, I have respect for them - respect and pride - because it lets me know that they want to make a stand and stand up for what they believe in.”

Senior Ansley Thomas is focusing her bill on bump stocks, attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire faster.

“I think that when it comes to people being killed not by the 40th bullet but by the 5,000th then there needs to be something done,” she said.

Thomas also believes that students have been forced to take this issue on.

“I think that’s inspiring for me to know that, like, I have a say in this stuff,” Thomas said, “but it’s also kind of scary that our leaders aren’t taking action.”

The bills that pass at the mock session will be passed on to the state legislature for consideration.

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