GHS Students attend panel discussion with Parkland students


Maria Kotob

A panel of six students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (From left) Host Meagan Stone, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Matt Deitsch, Ryan Deitsch.


On Tuesday, March 20th,  the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics brought six students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to Harvard University for a panel discussion about their experience dealing with the recent violent mass shooting at their school and what they are doing now, and in the future, to help make a change.

The students on the panel were Ryan Deitsch, his older brother Matt Deitsch, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind.

The Boston Globe was given twenty tickets to provide to local school newspapers to attend the event. Gillnetter reporters Maria Kotob and Danielle Denman, were given two of passes and attended the event.  

“It was such an amazing opportunity to be there,” said Denman. “The students covered a wide variety of different issues and topics that brought them there that night. I’m glad to see that these teenagers are my future.”

After visiting several other locations, the six Parkland students came to Cambridge, MA for a panel discussion about what they have been doing since the shooting, what their next courses of action are, and what it was like to go through such a tragedy.

Their passion for a change and confidence in their abilities set the scene as they replied to questions with clear, fact-based answers without a hesitation. They remained engaged and patient with each question, and showed their understanding for both sides of the argument whilst making sure they get their point across.

Since the mass shooting, the actions of the students from Parkland have created a movement for change. Siblings Ryan and Matt Deitsch were two of the six students on the panel.

“We can see change everyday if we put ourselves to it… It’s been five weeks and the amount of change we’ve seen makes us want to keep going,” said R. Deitsch.

Matt Deitsch has been using the last several weeks to help organize the Walk for Our Lives in order to show the government that students, parents, and people everywhere across the globe are demanding a change.

“If we can create a unified front, we need that to come together to face this issue,” he said.

Emma Gonzalez began the event with a moment of silence to honor those lost due to gun violence, followed by remarks from David Hogg.

“It’s important we have these moments of silence to remember these individuals, but what is even more important is to speak up. We have been silent for too long as a nation and have allowed these things to happen for too long. We need to make sure we speak up to the congressman and state legislators and let them know what these constituents want,” said Hogg.  

“And if you choose not to vote on the side of the student’s lives then that is completely up to you,” he continued. “And if you choose to just not vote on the side of human lives that are being taken by the thousands every year, that’s okay because we will vote you out. It is as simple as that.”

Following the moment of silence, they discussed future courses of action with the host, Meagan Stone, and answered any questions the audience had for them, including a nine year old boy.

When asked why they believe guns do not belong in schools, Alex Wind responded:

“It’s not just schools, which is why we can’t just put a bunch of guns in schools. Are we going to arm our pastors and our ministers and our rabbis? And DJs in clubs? We can’t do that. We can’t expect all these leaders who people go to for sacred holy and spiritual spaces and expect there to be guns there,” said Wind. “There aren’t supposed to be guns in churches, hotels, malls, airports, and nightclubs and movie theaters. Do you want the usher  at the movie theater having a weapon?”

“Do we want to turn our schools into warzones?” said Hogg.

“Teachers have already fired guns in classrooms since it was proposed,” added Kasky.

On Saturday they attended the Walk For Our Lives in Washington D.C. To encourage other students to continue the conversation and to continue going to these events.

“Find a way to connect with your peers,” said Deitsch. “If you leave today and stop the conversation, then we failed you and you failed us.”