Lehigh Valley

Local students rally for change after Florida school shooting

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - It was more than a round table meeting because administrators in the Bethlehem Area School District wanted to gauge how students at Liberty and Freedom high schools were feeling about the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

"A couple of the students spoke specifically to they feel angry, they feel sad, they feel scared and they alluded to it because it feels so much more personal," said Joseph Roy, superintendent of Bethlehem Area School District. 

Students say it feels so personal because they watched the videos and posts via social media.

"They were real people and we saw the memorials for the students, the teachers, and the staff. We were like 'wow,'" said Rachel Black, senior class president at Freedom High School.

Students know about the growing movements for a national walk out day on March 14 and a march in Washington D.C. 

"It's not a bad idea. I think we can do more though. I think we can make it about the lives that were lost, and I think we can make it about how we can change things," Black said.

So the students plan to come up with a a program that is more inclusive to all students, a program based on advocacy.

"They talked about a letter writing, they talked about even inviting legislators to come to the schools to meet with them," Roy said.

Students say the plan has to be thought out because they are standing together.

They also want to make sure everyone's opinion is respected, which they say a walkout may not do.

"We all have different opinions on gun laws and we don't want to as a group provide an absolute answer," Black said. 

Students from Liberty and Freedom hope to have a program in April with the final day being a rally at the district football stadium. 

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