The Viking Post

March for Teens

A poster made by senior Alana Carmona hangs on the wall during the #enough event.

A poster made by senior Alana Carmona hangs on the wall during the #enough event. "The hashtags on the poster are some of the ones that have been used since the shooting in order to raise awareness," Carmona said. "The list in black are some of the mass murders that have happened since Columbine up until now. There were too many for one poster so I chose some that were well-known and the ones with a high number of death and injuries. The names in red are the names of the 17 people who died in the Florida shooting. The dates are the day the event happened and the day March For Our Lives took place."

Skye McNeal, Staff Writer

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Disgust. Disappointment. They’re lessening the amount of importance, I thought, They’re undermining the whole point of this event.

An hour later, a well spoken, well dressed career woman was in the front office with Moreno Valley High School administrators speaking with them about the “civic engagement” that took place. Chief Academic Officer of the District office and former principal of Moreno Valley High School Maribel Mattox was invited to an event that she described as “well planned.” Student-generated, this event had booths with ASB as it’s head.

On Wednesday, March 14, a national march took place at the start of the 10 o’clock hour to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, to bring awareness to students about their voice, and to show Congress that, when it comes to stricter laws on guns, we teenagers mean business.

As I pushed through a large crowd by lunch tables, I learned that in reality we don’t. We mean ice cream. We mean face paint. We mean t-shirts. The “civic engagement” that took place on March 14 was a good-intentioned event gone wrong.

It can be understood why ASB organized the activities as so. It “caught people’s attention,” stated an officer of ASB.

Mr. Rodgers, a teacher who was involved with the booth at which students register to vote, asserted that it “gave kids opportunity when they don’t know where to go… young people are realizing their voice matters”.

According to Mr.Shaw, the teacher in charge of handing out the ice creams, it made it “easier [for students] to participate” and provided opportunities. The line of thinking he referenced was that ice cream leads to face paint which leads to t-shirts and might, just might, lead to things actually done for the victims instead of just representative things that are fun and have no effect on the victims’ families.

These activity booths gave us students incentive to come out of class. It made us seem as if we weren’t mature enough to want to demonstrate on our own. That we must be enticed to participate.

That can be a cause for concern for our future. This is what is expected of today’s high school students and tomorrow’s adults from their own generation. They’re expected to be convinced to do something, to act like they stand for something, in return for sweets, t-shirts, and face paint.

If such a thing can be expected of future voters, it’s paving the way for politicians to capitalize and exploit such behavior. This is known as the practice of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Self-fulfilling prophecy is a psychological occurrence. As defined by the Business Dictionary, it is any expectation about something “that may affect a person’s [or people’s] behavior toward” that something “in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled”.

A Freshman with the number 17 face painted on her cheek in orange, when asked why she got it on her face, replied “Because…”. She giggled and blushed, embarrassed, and then continued with an “I don’t know”.

A senior ashamedly admitted that her entire class left earlier than the time they were supposed to be released just so they can get ice cream. They didn’t do anything else during the event.

That is the impression that was made on the students of Moreno Valley High School. This event went from recognizing the fallen to a gimmick to get more people involved in a school activity – a “civic engagement.”

Perhaps, instead of having 17 booths for 17 minutes, we could actually have marched for 17 minutes. It’s not difficult to put signs throughout the school and create a path that circulates around it, hitting all of the wings so that when you step out of class in whatever wing you’re in, you’re directed right into a walk for the lives of those now dead.

Instead of commissioning teachers to hold booths, poster boards for students to carry during the march could have been created in their classes.

If such things were done instead of cheapening the sacred hour with treats, every student would be encouraged, driven to practice their First Amendment right to peacefully protest the tragedy that could have been prevented if laws were stricter.

However, the entire event in itself was not a failure. It was a great effort with a great turn out and a step in the right direction. Over 20 people, students, were able to register as voters because of a booth. That is the point.

Maria Chilapa, senior and ASB secretary, also made a good point.

“The point is the school went out of it’s way,” Chilapa said.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “March for Teens”

  1. Pepe on March 15th, 2018 8:33 pm

    Skye,
    Good article. I get you frustration with the event degenerating into a play time, and I agree. But you have to remember that our students didn’t feel the pain like the students in Florida and for most of them that is just something that happened on the east coast. It’s the mindset of “if it ain’t in my backyard I don’t care.” And I agree with you they should because although we have some of the strictest gun laws in the country (California) we still need to do more and push back against the NRA. Like Shaw expressed offering face painting and ice cream was the attempt to get students out to register as voters- one of our most important fundamental rights- getting them to realize they can make a difference by speaking out. Unfortunately, many adults well into their thirties and forties , let alone high school students, either don’t care or take for granted their right and ability to change this country’s trajectory with their 1st Amendment rights.
    Pepe

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