Students taking action: Group plans march to demand school safety

Students taking action: Group plans march to demand school safety
Pascagoula High School students Kenyatta Thomas, Quinten Harry and Meha Patel gather to discuss a student march planned for March 24. (photo credit: WLOX)

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Students across South Mississippi are banding together to oppose the idea of arming teachers with guns on campus.

"Our family is very opposed to teachers with guns," said Quintin Harry, a senior at Pascagoula High School.

Quintin's mom is a teacher and that means the Mississippi School Safety Acts hits close to home.

"Teachers are not supposed to be security guards," he said. "Forcing teachers to do so or even providing that environment is actually just going to draw more teachers away from the field of education."

Should schools arm teachers? The Senate Judiciary Committee thinks so. It passed legislation that would allow some teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus, along with training.

Some students say our government leaders are going the wrong way.

"With everything going on recently, I feel like it gives them a chance to be a part of something that will make a change in the future hopefully," said Pascagoula High School senior class president Meha Patel. She's helping to lead the way for a group of students who plan to demand change.

Quintin, Meha and Kenyatta Thomas will march next month school safety and legislation reform.

"Gun ownership shouldn't take precedence over the lives of our students," Thomas said. "Our students are our future leaders. They're the future generation of people who are going to be making a difference in this world."

Next month's "March For Our Lives" event in Gulfport will coincide with the national movement. Kenyatta said students and their families plan to march down the street, holding posters with photos of the Parkland, Florida school shooting victims. She is calling it an 'honoring ceremony,' and expects a big crowd.

"There are a lot of people who are upset, and angry and scared. And there are a lot of students who are scared for their lives. And a lot of parents and teachers who value the lives of their kids and students," Kenyatta added.

"Something could happen at any time and really the root of it is guns. It's becoming too easy in this country and especially this state with our lawmakers making it super easy to get guns and now making it legal to carry them on public grounds such as schools. That's what scares me the most," added Quintin.

Students across the nation are also planning a walk out March 14. They'll walk out of class at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes to honor the lives of 17 students lost in the Florida school shooting.

The march next month is open to anyone. It's scheduled for March 24 at the Dan M. Russell Federal Courthouse in Gulfport. Click here for more information on the event.

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