“Man, you can really learn a lot from students when you just sit and listen to what they’re saying” about their fears and frustration.
In 2018, students packed the streets in more than 300 cities across America after 17 teenagers were shot and killed in their classrooms at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since then, there have been at least 119 school shootings, where at least one person was killed or injured, according to Education Week—an average of more than 40 every year.
“It’s a lot different from when I went to school,” said Tim LeMonds, spokesman for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), the second-largest in the state of Wisconsin. “But I’m 54-years-old and went to school in the ‘80s. The world has changed.”
It certainly has.
- Every day, more than 100 Americans are killed by guns.
- More than 200 are wounded.
- Every year, an average of 23,000 people die by gun suicide, and it’s the leading cause of death for young people.
Those statistics, compiled in March for Our Lives’ impact report, are a major reason more than 1 million students, teachers, and community members are marching this weekend in 300 more ‘March for Our Lives’ events, including six in Wisconsin: Eau Claire, Elkhorn, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Minocqua.
“These incidents have become far too commonplace,” Dr. Keith P. Posley, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, the largest district in the state, wrote in a Facebook post following last month’s massacre of 21 students & teachers at Robb Elementary School.
“My hope is that we find a solution that ends senseless gun violence in all forms.”
Back in Madison, LeMonds says members of his district have a proud tradition of getting involved in local marches and expects the district will be well-represented on Saturday.
“Man, you can really learn a lot from students when you just sit and listen to what they’re saying,” he said.
Or, in this case, if you stand and march with them.
“There are things we don’t see that they see,” LeMonds added.
“We’ve always advocated and been appreciative of our students and our staff speaking up and using their voices to effect change because that’s what this country was built on.”