Santa Fe Students Protested Gun Violence — Just Weeks Before This School Shooting
On Friday, May 18, a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, ultimately killing 10 people, including nine students and one teacher. It was just the latest deadly school shooting in the United States, and this one struck a student body which had just recently engaged in activism in support of new gun control laws ― the Santa Fe students protested gun violence just a month ago, with many of them participating in the national walkouts on April 20.
The walkouts last month were spurred by the activism of many of the student survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, which took place on Feb. 14. In the weeks and months since, a number of the school's students have engaged in tireless activism and advocacy for new gun control laws, including organizing the massive March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. as well as the April 20 protests.
And, as CBS News noted on Friday, Santa Fe was one of the schools that saw many students join the protests, calling for new steps to be taken to end gun violence. Now, slightly less than a month later, the school has itself been impacted by gun violence in a truly horrible way.
Several of the highly visible names and faces that emerged in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas shooting have already reached out to the victims and survivors of the Santa Fe shooting, commenting on the tragic event on social media.
Emma Gonzalez, who led the March For Our Lives in an emotional and striking moment of silence in memorial of the 17 people slain in Parkland, tweeted that the Stoneman Douglas survivors would be there to support the Santa Fe students, and elevate their voices.
"Santa Fe High, you didn’t deserve this. You deserve peace all your lives, not just after a tombstone saying that is put over you," Gonzalez tweeted on Friday. You deserve more than Thoughts and Prayers, and after supporting us by walking out we will be there to support you by raising up your voices."
The families of the Parkland victims released the following statement, similarly expressing empathy and solidarity, while making a request of the media as far as its coverage of the shooting is concerned.
"The families of the victims killed in the Parkland massacre are deeply saddened that today another group of families, those from Santa Fe, TX, have suffered the loss of a loved one at school," the statement says. "All Americans must come together and unite to put an end to these preventable tragedies. Our elected officials need to enact laws and provide mandatory Federal guidelines for school safety."
"We ask that the media covering this event refrain from using the shooter’s name thereby preventing him from gaining the notoriety many of his kind desire," the statement continued, urging media outlets to focus their coverage on the victims of the deadly attack.
"Published studies clearly demonstrate this fact. These hate-filled individuals that attack and kill innocent children and school staff should not be glorified. The stories referring to this event should be about the victims, their families, and how we can prevent this from ever happening again," the statement concluded.
As Vox detailed on Friday, one survivor of the shooting, a 17-year-old junior at the school, remarked that she wasn't surprised when the shooting began, because she'd suspected something like that might happen at Santa Fe.
"It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too,” she said. “I don’t know. I wasn’t surprised, I was just scared.” According to CNN's metrics, the Santa Fe shooting was the 22nd school shooting in America in 2018.