Md. students quiz adults on school safety before classes start

August 15, 2018 | Local high school student: 'No one's listening' on school violence (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — For students like Mackenzie Boughey, a 16-year-old heading into 11th grade in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, part of getting ready to go back to school includes organizing a roundtable on gun violence and school safety.

Boughey helped create March for Our Lives Annapolis and put together an event where students can ask candidates for office, school officials and even the mayor of Annapolis what progress is being made to prevent the kind of school violence that happened in Parkland, Florida, and at Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, during the last school year.

Boughey attends the Severn School, and said she feels safe at her school, adding, “I know that they care about me.”

But, she recalled how she felt doing an active shooter drill. “We had to hide under desks and stuff, and that was a little … chilling,” she said.

Boughey said there’s a frustration among students. “It seems like, for the longest time, ever since even Columbine, and Sandy Hook even, it seems like no one is listening and change isn’t happening.”

That’s why she’s pleased that school officials, including Ed Clarke, the executive director for the Maryland Center for School Safety, is planning on attending the Wednesday night event in Annapolis.

Boughey said students in the March for Our Lives movement want “common sense” gun laws, but don’t want to deny citizens their Second Amendment rights. One of the things Boughey said students want to see: stronger penalties for gun owners who fail to keep their firearms out of the hands of minors.

Though Boughey said it seems that concrete action isn’t being taken fast enough, she’s still hopeful. It’s just that she’s not counting on adults to do all the work.

She added, “I’ve grown up with all these mass shootings … but the younger generation is going to change that.”

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