Anxiety, Fear, Anger: Texas Students Talk About How Gun Violence Has Affected Their Lives | KERA News

Anxiety, Fear, Anger: Texas Students Talk About How Gun Violence Has Affected Their Lives

Apr 23, 2018

Thousands of Texas students — from Dallas to El Paso to Houston — walked out of class last week to protest gun violence. The National School Walkout was the latest anti-gun violence protest since February, when 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

Public radio reporters across Texas met with protesters, and asked the students "How has gun violence affected your life?" 

Churchill High School in San Antonio

"It's created a sense of fear. I'm very worried that school shootings have become something that we, as students, are expected to deal with," said Churchill High School student Chase Jacobson. "I think it is far too much to expect anywhere from a 14 to an 18 year old coming [to school] to gain opportunity and get themselves ready for life, to, at any moment, be ready to have their lives ended. I think that's far too much and that needs to change."

"It's impacted my life in a lot of bad ways," said Malena Martinez. "I see a lot of my friends being very hurt…especially because there was a shooting close to here in Sutherland Springs. It's really heartbreaking to see the families and how they're destroyed. It breaks my heart seeing the people that I love being hurt."

"I am a student and I realize that I'm at high risk every day, and so are my classmates, my brother, and I never want to go through the same thing that Parkland and so many others have gone through again," said Sophia Mendez, 16, one of the lead organizers of the Churchill High School walkout.
Credit Camille Phillips / Texas Public Radio

Flower Mound High School in Flower Mound

"Thankfully I have not been personally affected, but just watching and hearing stories all the time….it's devastating," said senior Casey Kassal. He pointed out that Friday's National Walk Out Day fell on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

Flower Mound High School student Anjali Raghavan.
Credit Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

"That happened in 1999, which was when I was born. I've lived my whole life, and my whole life we've been doing these lockdown drills in school," Kassal said. He's grateful that he’s been safe, and wants "it to end now before anyone else has to suffer."

"Every loss that we have, and every shooting that takes place…I do feel it personally, said Flower Mound senior Anjali Raghavan. "I know how privileged I am to be in the community of Flower Mound. But to feel unsafe going to a place that is supposed to be, like, a hub of knowledge…training for the feel unsafe in that environment is something that affects me."

Alpine High School in Alpine

"We had our own incident," said Alpine High junior Malik Aguilar, referring to early September 2016. "A girl brought a gun with ammunition into our school and shot one of our friends and killed herself in the bathroom. After that we kind of just didn't do anything about it. And, in recent years, there have been other many school shootings around the nation, and many other kids in her generation are just dying. And we're tired of it, and we just we want to make a stand and we don't want to be hushed anymore."

Malik Aguilar (left) and Jonah Adams (right) were some of the organizers for Friday's march in Alpine, Texas.
Credit Carlos Morales / KRTS Marfa Public Radio