TEXAS CITY

Hundreds of Texas City High School students, some holding signs bearing the names of young people gunned down at a Florida school, attended an anti-violence assembly Friday focused on addressing campus safety.

The school’s student Political Activism Club organized the event at Stingaree Stadium and administrators allowed students to leave class for 30 minutes to attend. Students were not required to participate in the assembly and could stay inside the school building if they chose.

The club organized the assembly to show unity with school shooting victims, said Jaeden Johnson, president of the club and a senior at the school.

“The idea behind our assembly is to empathize and stand in solidarity with school shooting victims across the nation, and to ensure that the issue of school safety does not fade from national attention,” Johnson said. “We are thoroughly aware that there is a problem with violence in schools throughout the country.”

The administration had been wise to facilitate the student-run event, Johnson said.

“Instead of suppressing our voices and keeping this event from happening, they are supporting our right to speak and assemble by providing a space for us to do so safely,” he said.

The school’s assembly, inspired by a Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 14 students and three staff members dead, coincided with events across the nation in which students walked out of schools to protest gun violence.

By sanctioning the event, the school wanted to avoid chaos and danger to students who might walk out in the streets, officials said.

Administration officials coordinated the event with students to ensure safety, said Melissa Tortorici, a spokeswoman for Texas City Independent School District.

“Students did a good job, were well-spoken and very passionate,” Tortorici said. “Students were very respectful.”

The event was neither liberal nor conservative in tone, but a means in which students could feel powerful, Texas City High School student Isabela Johnston said.

“This was a cry for us to put our politics aside,” Johnston said. “Schools should be a haven for learning, not a battleground.”

Although the assembly had no particular liberal nor conservative agenda, some parents who were against the assembly threatened to vote against the district’s $136.1 million proposed bond issue in May.

Student demonstrations have generated concern and some anger among people who fear the loss of Second Amendment rights that might come from gun-control measures.

The assembly issue became heated enough on the school district’s Facebook page that officials on Thursday posted guidelines about proper etiquette when posting comments.

But assembly events are meant to bridge the gap between groups of people, not divide the community, Johnson said.

“If you leave here with nothing else, leave knowing your actions matter,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to let students know that their actions matter and encourage them to do more in promoting the welfare of their school and community.”

Connor Behrens: 409-683-5241; connor.behrens@galvnews.com.

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Before coming to work for The Daily News as a staff reporter, Connor worked for us as a freelance correspondent throughout 2017. He has written for other publications such as the Washington Post.

(21) comments

Paul Hyatt

I would be willing to bet that if those same bunch of students woke up one day and decided to march to march for the right to carry a weapon our school system would not be appreciative and probably would not be so willing to allow these students the day off to march about the silly idea that they are marching about..... One day these students will grow up and then they will see how foolish that they were as they will now not be allowed to own a gun which has been the corner stone of our Constitution and they will understand that when the rest of their rights are then called non-essential.... People had better wake up to this soon just the left wing biased media had better wake up to the fact that one day they too will be on the wrong side of the equation.... Ask the publishers down in Venezuela who once were on the side of the revolution and know are hiding in fear of their lives.... Many like you do not understand what they are doing until they have done the damage that can not be undone....

Thomas Sanchez

The event had nothing to do about your guns so quit fanning false assumptions.

Gary Scoggin

Funny, I consider free speech to be the cornerstone of our constitution.

Michelle Aycoth

Quote fro article
“By sanctioning the event, the school wanted to avoid chaos and danger to students who might walk out in the streets, officials said.”

Really ! Who is running the school ?
Andrew Aycoth

Raymond Lewis

The administrators are running the school and they acted wisely with the safety of their students in mind. Kudos to them.

Gary Scoggin

I am proud of these students and proud of how the administration handled the entire affair. Kudos to all.

George Croix

When the emotion gets moved aside in favor of actual responsible solutions that can have an actual positive and direct impact on school safety, maybe we'll see functional fencing go up around the schools, with controlled access points, and armed security (hopefully, with security personnel that will go TO a problem, not hide from it in CYA mode....) as just the first steps to DO something besides talk or focus on the wrong thing(s).
You don't solve a problem like in Florida of a crazy killer ignored by government officials and what passed for law enforcement there at the local and even FBI levels by disarming some rancher in Montana or counting his cartridges in a magazine.

Stephanie Martin

So many of these school shooting were the result of the kid being bullied. This message is getting lost in these protests about guns.

Gary Scoggin

If I’m not mistaken, bullying was one of the topics discussed at the assembly. The overall topic was school violence, not guns.

Stephanie Martin

Guns are the biggest part of these horrible incidents.

Michelle Aycoth

Mental illness, lack of parenting and school bullying is the biggest part of these horrible incidents.
Andrew Aycoth

George Croix

While pondering, ponder this:
When, besides guns/shootings, does the tool of the death or injury get the blame rather than the person that caused the deed?

Anyone?
Anyone?

Michelle Aycoth

I might add that school administrators turning a blind eye to problems within the school.
Andrew Aycoth

Carlos Ponce

I've known a couple of school administrators who fit that description.

Gary Scoggin

Alcohol rightfully gets its share of the blame.

Steve Fouga

George asks, and it's a good question: "When, besides guns/shootings, does the tool of the death or injury get the blame rather than the person that caused the deed?"

Hallucinogens and other drugs, cigarettes, faulty or unsafe industrial equipment or other dangerous working conditions, motor vehicles, scuba tanks, explosives. All of these are regulated to some degree because they can cause injury or death when used by untrained, unknowing, reckless, or uncaring individuals -- not even individuals with murderous intent! In the past, none of these were regulated, but at some point they were deemed dangerous or a public menace, and henceforth regulated.

Some are regulated by tax, some by inspection and fines, some by limited prohibition. None is outright prohibited, just regulated to the point where an acceptable level of injuries and deaths is reached.

George Croix

Regulation of things is not the same as assigning blame to those things for their misuse or even criminal abuse by the person using them, Steve. It would be hard for any honest person to hold a straight face while saying that firearms are not regulated from production to distribution to end point and for use.
What I wrote is the following:
"When, besides guns/shootings, does the tool of the death or injury get the blame rather than the person that caused the deed?"
That's Blame.
For the tool, not the miscreant.
It is undeniable that when the subject is misuse of firearms, the FIRST words we hear about it are 'gun control', not 'person misusing them control'. This almost always before the facts of the particular incident are even known, and willfully ignores the hundreds of millions NOT misused by the hundreds of millions of honest owners.
When a bus driver wrecks his vehicle and causes some passengers to be killed, nobody says we should ban busses or cell phones, as but one instance...
So, the question still stands.....
Anyone?
Anyone?
As an aside, none of those items you listed, Steve, are banned due to misuse of them by the users.
In the case in point in Florida leading to these walk-outs or 'assemblies', the regulations already in place, the laws and means already intended to prevent what happened, the laws already restricting ownership of the weapon involved to the type of person who got one anyway due to no or incomplete information coordination by government entities charged with doing so, and the people charged with carrying out those things for prevention, all failed miserably. Even the first-on-site 'armed security' and first responding law enforcement from ONE department chose...chose....to do nothing.
On top of that, the mantra about banning the weapon used there totally...totally... ignores, if not just being ignorant of, the fact that so called 'assault weapons', which aren't but that's another issue, bans were in effect nationwide in 1999 at Columbine, in 2012 on the state level in Connecticut at Sandy Hook, in Washington, DC in 2013 when the Naval Yard was shot up, and in San Bernardino, CA in 2015 when the two nuts killed all those people...etc...
Maybe we need a law requiring us to follow the laws already in place...

Steve Fouga

I admit it's not a great analogy, George, but I still think it holds to some extent. I think drugs are very much "blamed" for their misuse, as are cigarettes, as is faulty industrial equipment. Probably not scuba tanks...

I used "regulation" as the basis for my discussion because this is what people are asking for. An inanimate thing becomes a public menace because it's dangerous in and of itself, or because of the way people use it, or the amount people use it, and lo and behold, it gets regulated. This is what people want to happen with guns. They want more or stronger "gun" regulations, whether that means bans or limitations on the firearms themselves, or on peoples' ability to get them.

Why are guns singled out? Because unlike other dangerous things, many guns are purposely designed so people can use them to kill things, putting them in a different category from most other inanimate objects.

George Croix

Not buying it.
A ban is not regulation, it's elimination.
If we are going to eliminate something, remove it entirely and let nobody have it, that should be done based on fact and cold logic, not misinformation and emotion, and should be the result of widespread and routine misuse of whatever it is.
It hasn't helped that a generation of people have been raised, and are still being raised, largely to think that they should not have to put up with anything they don't personally like or are afraid off, and that it's perfectly OK to insist that everyone else go along with them and.

The hypocrisy of the situation would be apalling in a sane world, but then the same people are the ones demanding 'free speach' while shouting down all who disagree with them...

Go figure....

Steve Fouga

I actually agree, George. You asked for examples, and I tried to provide some. I couldn't think of any direct analogies. I mentioned, above, that none of the examples I listed have truly been banned. Guns are viewed as a class of their own, for the reason I stated.

My personal opinion is that we should be exceedingly careful about banning ANYTHING. I value personal freedom above almost everything else. I say almost, because there's bound to be something else, but I can't presently think of it. 🔫

Gary Miller

I think what should be banned or outlawed is all gun laws criminals ignore. Replace them with gun laws criminals won't/can't ignore. Like? Project exile by the NRA. It worked very well until liberal judges ignored it. If liberal judges ignore it, impeach them for contributing to the crime problem.

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