The fear, the fight, the future: The threat of gun violence is a new reality for today’s students

On March 14, exactly one month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, thousands of students at area schools walked out of their classrooms to honor the 17 students and faculty who lost their lives on Valentine’s Day in Florida, also demanding stronger gun control across the nation. Photo by Eze Amos

The lights were off and the door was locked in Shreya Mahadevan’s fourth-grade classroom at Johnson Elementary School. Small bodies huddled quietly behind a wall of backpacks—their teacher in tears.

“It was really scary. Petrifying,” says the 9-year-old girl about the lockdown her school was under last October, when a man in nearby Johnson Village was on the run after a reported burglary and sexual assault.

But as she huddled near the backpacks, and then ducked behind a bookshelf for cover, she didn’t know why—she just knew it felt different than the drills she’d been practicing.

“It’s not scary if we’re having a drill,” says Shreya. “It just makes you feel like you know what to do when something happens.”

Pausing for a moment, she corrects herself: “If something happens.”

(Excerpt from Samantha Baars’ article in C-Ville- read more)

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High School Senior April Ma Explains How “Students Demand Action” Is Working to End Gun Violence

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams organized a rally

I channeled my anger and frustration into action by founding my local Johnson County, Kansas, chapter of Students Demand Action, a national initiative created by teens and young adults who are ready to join the gun violence prevention movement and demand change. We knew that change wouldn’t come without responsible lawmakers, so we worked quickly to figure out how to make a difference before the midterm elections. Weeks after our founding, we hosted a town hall for the Third Congressional District of Kansas. We also began holding voter registration drives to make sure as many students as possible are registered.

(Excerpt from April Ma’s article in Teen Vogue- Read more)

Sweating the Small Stuff

 

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Okay, sweating is technically something the body does. Although your mind does not perspire, I’ll bet it feels like it does sometimes. First the big stuff. At its extreme, worry takes the form of a psychological disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder where your life is filled with anxiety about everything.

Another is obsessive-compulsive disorder which is based on fear that you have done or might do something wrong. You feel overcome by worry about what you did and what you are about to do. You keep doing the same things over and over hoping to get it right this time. Being consumed by this disorder allows little time for anything else and leaves you constantly exhausted.

Fortunately most people do not worry to this extent. Even if small matters look large at the moment, in the long run they turn out not to matter very much at all. For those with either of the disorders I just mentioned, self doubt comes close to paralyzing them and makes it difficult for them to quickly decide what to do in almost any situation.

Where does this feeling come from? For many people, it dates back to early childhood when they were given the impression that they were not competent to do much of anything. True, most people are not born prodigies but gradually learn survival skills and go on to develop special talents. Encouragement along the way helps them take their first faltering steps.

Have you ever watched babies learning to walk? The first awkward attempts lead nowhere except landing back on their seats. But with encouragement and support, babies are off and running before you know it.

(Excerpt from my book, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life)