Staples Students Demand Action

In March, over 1,000 Staples High School students walked out of class. Massed in the fieldhouse, they honored the 17 slain students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and demanded sensible gun legislation.

It was a powerful display of activism. But many Westporters wondered whether the teenage leaders could sustain their momentum.

A month later, a smaller — but still substantial — group of students headed to the high school courtyard. In the afternoon, a few dozen assembled on Veterans Green, across from Town Hall.

Again, their message centered on stopping gun violence.

And again, the question hung: Are these kids in it for the long run?

They are.

Last month, Staples High School students stood in the courtyard to demand action on gun violence. (Photo/Ali Feder)

There’s now a Staples chapter of Students Demand Action. That’s the national organization — affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety — fighting for common sense gun reform and usage. Westport leaders include Elana Atlas, Audrey Bernstein, Ruby Coleman, Kaela Dockray, Brooke Kessler, Peri Kessler and Eliza Oren.

The end of the school year is in sight — the busiest time of year. Seniors have already headed off to internships.

But Students Demand Action are in the thick of things. They meet regularly, to strategize and plan activities.

Their first big event is a #WearOrange campaign. That’s the official color of gun violence — because it was what Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore to honor her. She was killed at age 15 — just a week after performing at President Obama’s 2nd inauguration.

On the weekend of June 1-3, the group will paint the town orange. It’s part of a nationwide effort.

“We’re fighting to take back power from the gun lobby,” says Staples chapter co-founder Elana Atlas.

“We would love for the rest of the community to fight with us as we demand action from legislators on a local, state and federal level, as well as businesses and schools to implement common-sense gun reforms. We need to end the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

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14 responses to “Staples Students Demand Action

  1. Rozanne Gates

    I would like to see every school child in this country boycott a return to class in September until effective gun control legislation is passed on a national level. And I mean strict legislation. I am tired of being held hostage to the Second Amendment and so are our children.

    • I’m not sure how you can be “held hostage” by an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      • rozannegates

        When children are being killed in schools all over the country, exactly how does that reflect the original intention of the Second Amendment? Do you even know what the original intention of the 2A was?
        How many more parents have to say goodbye to their children in the morning, not knowing if they will come home alive because the idiots in this country’s governmental bodies don’t have the balls to stand up to the NRA and to pass powerful, enforceable gun legislation. Yes, I am tired of being held hostage by the murderers at the NRA and in Congress.

  2. Jack Backiel

    The millennials are the largest voting block and will be the largest voting block for decades! The last I read, about 70 percent don’t identify with the Republican Party, or the NRA. In six years, when the twelve year olds will be able to vote, this will swell to 78 percent, or so. Let’s look at the math. You can’t lose 70 to 78 percent of the largest voting block, 90 to 97 percent of the blacks, 70 percent of Hispanics and Asians, and 55 percent of women, and expect to win a national election. The math isn’t there. In six years, you’re going to be stunned at what is going to happen. The Republican Party has lost the greatest voting block for the next 35 years! (By the way, as I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks right outside of D.C. wearing my “March for our Lives” t-shirt I bought on March 24th.)

    • Rozanne Gates

      Hoping all your predictions come true, Jack

    • I hope we don’t have to wait six more years.

      • Jack Backiel

        Bobbie, Little by little, progress will be made! Emma Gonzalez has something like 3.5 million Twitter followers around the country and 3,600 schools took part in the last walk out! I attended the March 24th demonstration in D.C. and talked to students from all over the country! This is definitely a Marathon and not a sprint! When I flew up on March 23, from PBI to BWI, the plane was full of kids from the different high schools.

  3. Here’s an idea. Instead of more laws how about government agencies follow the ones we have? Parkland would not have happened if the FBI did it’s job.

    • Jack Backiel

      The largest voting block will be deciding our laws, as they eventually begin to lead the country, over the next 50 years! It’s a snowball that will get bigger and bigger every two years and will last for decades! The Parkland kids are already talking to the Santa Fe kids on social media.

    • Russell Gontar

      Parkland wouldn’t have happened if our cowardly congress hadn’t let the assault weapons ban expire.

  4. Nancy Hunter

    Start by suing gun manufacturers, gun owners like cigarette manufacturers.

  5. Susana Weyer

    Thank you for this. I didn’t know this chapter existed at Staples. I think the future looks bright. I was in NY for the march and hope was palpable there.

  6. Please, encourage those of age to register AND VOTE! This is the voice our representatives need to hear – State and Federal. This year we elect State Reps and Governor-locally. These young voices who are inheriting the future must be heard!
    Go for it.