Peri Karpishpan, 17, New York City
I am blessed to go to a private school with insane levels of security. Every day when I walk through the bulletproof double doors past the highly trained armed security, I remember I am safe. It is hard to forget, though, that millions of kids just like me are not. We have a therapist on staff, but I have never used her as a resource. I prefer to feel the rage. I refuse to let go of it. I want to make sure I never normalize the idea that parents who send their kids to school — the safest place a kid should be — must pray that they return home.
‘There’s nothing I can do without the right to vote and a pocket full of cash.’
Kate Hawse, 17, Lexington, Ky.
Parkland was the first major school shooting that I felt I really understood. It changed everything as far as how conscious I was of politics. I went to the first March for Our Lives in my town. I thought that something would come out of it, but nothing did.
Parkland has gone further and further down the list of recent shootings and, honestly, I can’t take investing myself emotionally into this anymore. I live in a red state and I’ve lost all hope of any kind of gun control legislation being enacted here, at least by the time I graduate. Lawmakers need to fight to make things right, or just commit to their complicity. There’s nothing I can do without the right to vote and a pocket full of cash.
Lauren Baker, 16, Houston
The problem is not doors. The problem is that almost any person can obtain a gun capable of mass murder. I pray that each shooting will be a call to action, that there will be a push for change and reform. But I know we are helpless to people in power who refuse to keep us safe. I’m angry that our country allows children to be slaughtered over and over just to protect a nuance of an outdated amendment. I do not have faith in our government to protect anyone.
Cate Boland, 15, Santa Ana, Calif.
When I can vote, I will remember every politician who took blood money, who protected a multimillion dollar corporation over children.
‘We try to put Band-Aids on our invisible wounds’
Agatha German, 16, New York City
Recently, one of my teachers shared how concerned she was for her child who is starting school soon. It really put into perspective just how long this has been going on. She has been worried about them for almost three decades — for her own safety in high school, then for her students’ and, now, for her child’s. It startled me. In a way, it’s comforting to see that I’m not alone in my mix of grief, fear and irritation.