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Students Speaking Up

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

by THOMAS PUGH - Students share their experiences in the new club, Students Demand Action.

Nichols (center) leads a SDA meeting in the Learning Center.

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Dec. 5, 2018) - In the United States, gun control has become a growing concern, especially since Columbine in 1999. After Parkland in February of 2018, Students Demand Action, a national club, formed to encourage people to sign up to vote, especially for gun control. Lauren Nichols (11) decided to bring the club to Westfield, and under the guidance of Mrs. Gibbs, she started the club, serving as its president.

“Gun violence and the effects of it have been a growing problem in the US for years now, and it’s becoming more and more prominent in the US,” Nichols said. “I went to March for Our Lives last year, and I have been interested in decreasing gun violence and spreading gun sense for a while now.”

Nichols, along with other members of Students Demand Action, shared similar opinions about gun violence. For Sophie Gorecki (10), the club is an opportunity to express her opinions and leave an impact.

“I hope that people can educate other people on gun control and possibly persuade people to think the same way and hopefully talk to representatives to try and get gun control laws to happen,” Gorecki said.

Students who attended March for Our Lives decided to join the Students Demand Action as well, since it shares many features with that club.

“I was in the March for Our Lives club last year too, so a bunch of my friends were still doing the Students Demand Action club, and I’m passionate about gun control issues,” Evan Szewczyk (12) said.

Being such a new and controversial club, there are many hurdles, such as finding a sponsor and a room to meet in, and Nichols is still searching for a solution.

“[The biggest problem] has probably been finding a teacher who is willing to cooperate with such a politically driven club,” Nichols said. “It’s definitely a bit controversial. Gun control and the Second Amendment are a huge controversy in America right now, so finding a teacher who will be a sponsor has definitely been the biggest struggle.”

Fortunately, the turnout is still promising. Students in the club participated in group discussion and card-making. Szewczyk believes more participants can enhance the productivity of the club.

“As an individual, just going to meetings gives the group numbers to give us more sway and influence, and also being able to do things like make Christmas cards for victims of gun violence in the community,” Szewczyk said. “I think that’s really cool that we can have an impact on our community in that way too.”

As a division of Students Demand Action, Nichols communicates frequently with the national organization to stay on track, and communications are successful.

“I have contact with several different heads of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and I email and text,” Nichols said. “There are monthly calls where in these calls you can communicate with clubs all over Indiana and the US, and it’s really constructive and great where we can collaborate with people all around the country on how we can effectively make a difference here.”

Along with contacting the national organization, Nichols assumed responsibility of attracting students and encouraging them to participate. Her preferred method of communication is talking, but she also utilizes social media.

“Face to face is obviously my preferred method of spreading awareness of the club with people in my classes and having them spread the word, but I also have a few social media accounts for Students Demand Action: Instagram, which is @whs_students_demand_action, and a Twitter, which is @ActionWhs,” Nichols said.

Students Demand Action is an educational opportunity for students, who can learn not only about America’s political climate but also about their own ideas. They value the importance of learning.

“It’s about educating other people but also educating myself because there’s always things you can learn, and I know that I’m not perfect in any regards, so always staying educated about current events is important,” Szewczyk said.

Gorecki agrees overall.

“I hope that I can educate myself so that I can know how to talk to people about gun control and gun rights so that I can talk to my friends and family about it,” Gorecki said.

Together, the club is a positive environment for students to share their opinions and discuss current events about gun control. Students enjoy participating and educating themselves in a safe environment.

“The turnout and participation of the students has been absolutely fantastic,” Nichols said. “Everyone is super enthusiastic and absolutely welcoming and wonderful.”

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