GHS students advocate for ‘gun sense’ at NYS Capitol

Twelve members of the Guilderland High School chapter of March For Our Lives standing with the club advisor and three women in red shirts for a group photo. Some students are bending their knees and others are standing. Everyone is smiling at the camera.
Photo credit: Morgan Blanchard

Twelve members of the Guilderland High School chapter of March For Our Lives, a youth-led gun violence prevention organization, attended Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense 2024 Advocacy Day at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday, May 7. They were accompanied by their advisor, English teacher Alicia Wein.

Four students sitting on a couch. Two of the students are writing in their notebooks. Another student is smiling as he holds a notebook, while the fourth student is looking off to the left and smiling.
Students developed talking points about gun safety in schools prior to meeting with legislators. Photo credit: Morgan Blanchard

In preparation for the event, Guilderland students developed persuasion strategies and talking points to use while meeting with legislators to discuss integrating gun safety into schools.

“Getting to speak directly to the legislators who are making the decisions on bills that have such deep impacts really allowed us to see that our efforts are culminating in true change. Support from our chapter advisor, Ms. Wein, as well as the GHS administration and school community has been instrumental in allowing our student activists to move forward in our gun violence prevention work both within Guilderland and outside of our district,” said chapter Vice President Emily O’Connor.

Throughout the day, students facilitated meetings with several legislators and the group championed a comprehensive package of gun violence prevention laws for New York state. The laws they supported included reforming the existing system on lockdown drills and making the Guilderland Central School District resolution that informs families of their gun storage responsibilities a universal, statewide law.

Students wearing blue shirts standing for a group photo with a legislator, who's dressed in a gray suit and standing in the middle. Two women wearing red shirts are standing on the right side of the group, while another woman is on the left side. Everyone is smiling at the camera.
Students took the lead in scheduling meetings with legislators, facilitating engaging conversations that supported the organization’s goals.

In addition, the GHS group encouraged passage of the School Anti-Violence Education (SAVE) Act, which authorizes the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to create and fund a school anti-violence education curriculum, among four other crucial bills on gun violence prevention.

The students who attend the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense 2024 Advocacy Day are:

  • Morgan Blanchard
  • Leo Cordi
  • Caroline Duprey
  • Jane Fanning
  • Jeanne Lu
  • Dylan Mabee
  • Angelina Mantoo
  • Hannah Norris
  • Emily O’Connor
  • Conor Webb
  • Cassie Weiss
  • Isabella Wu

“I was not only honored to be a part of Advocacy Day, but I was also profoundly inspired by the critical role GHS students played in the process,” said chapter President Conor Webb. “Students (alongside chapter faculty advisor Ms. Alicia Wein) facilitated meetings, asked tough questions to legislators, and courageously shared their experiences with the epidemic of gun violence. It was precisely because of those efforts that we secured a record number of co-sponsorships on our comprehensive slate of gun bills.”

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