Students quiz Blumenthal, Murphy on school safety, gun violence

By:  Kent Pierce
WTNH News 8

United States Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy held a forum on gun violence and school safety in West Hartford's Conard High School Monday morning. On stage with the senators were educators and two student representatives.

"We all share the common belief that something has to be done," said student Megan Striff-Cave. "Enough is enough."

Those words echoed the chants heard at schools around the nation last week. Connecticut's U.S. Senators have spent years trying to get congress to pass what they call common sense gun regulation.

"We are closer now than ever before to meaningful reform because of you," Senator Blumenthal told the students.

At least one student did ask the Senators why fewer guns is always better than more, citing the military, where everyone has a gun.

"Not very often do you see people going in and shooting their comrades and barracks are filled with guns," asked a student in the audience.

"Communities, institutions and places that have more weapons have higher rates of gun crime, not lower rates of gun crime," responded Senator Murphy.

In the almost 5 weeks since a teen with an assault rifle killed 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida, students have taken up the cause of gun control, and when it comes to demonstrations and vigil disobedience, many educators back them up.

"How do we teach you about Martin Luther King Junior your whole lives, and then the moment you want to engage, we tell you know you can't," said West Hartford Schools Superintendent Thomas Moore. "That's ludicrous."

Students are basing their activism on their own worst fears: That the next school lockdown will not be a drill.

"High schoolers wondering if they should get their phones to text their parents that they love them," said Striff-Cave. "Middle schoolers going over what their parents told them - to run zig zag down the hallway. Elementary schoolers worried that their light-up sketchers will give them away."

Those high schoolers say they will keep protesting for school safety, and they will remember the issue when they are old enough to vote.