MOSES LAKE — About 45 people marched through downtown Moses Lake to call attention to gun violence at schools Saturday afternoon. The local “March for Our Lives” was prompted by students at a Florida high school, the site of a shooting in February, and was one of a number held nationwide.
“We’re marching about gun safety in schools,” said Citalli Guzman, one of the organizers. Adults and students walked from Sinkiuse Square and down Broadway Avenue, ending at Frontier Middle School.
“There is a problem and we do need to fix it,” Citalli said. That means additional measures to regulate guns, better care for the mentally ill and efforts at school to reduce harassment, among other things, she said.
The march ended at Frontier’s memorial to the victims of a 1996 school shooting. Peggy McNutt’s son was a student at Frontier that day, and when she came to get him, the kids were like “zombies,” she said. She remembered thinking she didn’t know what to say to him.
From her own career as a teacher she knows a lot of kids are hurting, she said. That is happening at a time when schools are being called upon to do more and more, she said, and demands are being made that schools and teachers can’t meet. Schools should be able to concentrate more on helping kids and less on testing, McNutt said.
The kids who have been killed had their whole lives ahead of them, said Dana Santos, a Frontier counselor, and it’s impossible to know what they could’ve done. “We need to do better,” she said. A speaker said the effects of the shooting at Frontier lasted long after the incident – and still linger.
Other speakers called for gun control and urged students to speak out against harassment. If students see someone else being mistreated, or isolating themselves, they should say something, he said. Another speaker asked how many people in the crowd had been harassed or bullied when they were in school. “We’ve all been there,” he said. When it happened, there were people who reached out and helped, he said, and he encouraged people in the crowd to do that for kids who are having trouble now.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at email@example.com.