Inside Our Schools
The seniors in Jose Sanchez’s third period American Government Class at Alhambra High School, took the shooting in Parkland, Florida, personally.
By Cheryl Cabot
As with other students across the country, they were “shocked and saddened” by the killing of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
They left class and marched in solidarity on March 14, in the March for Our Lives, but felt it was not enough. With urging from their teacher, Mr. Sanchez, they decided to confront the problem of school shootings with a resolution.
Mr. Sanchez said:
A lot of times students don’t know the political issues, And so we started researching a lot of articles as well as research online. Everyday there is something new to discuss.
“I have a young daughter who’s going to be a student one day in our district and I don’t want her to grow up in a society like this,” he continued. “I want them (his students) to fix it.”
One school shooting per week since the start of 2018
The research brought awareness of the problem of gun violence to the students. Some of the topics they decided to write about are regulations on licensing, restrictions of certain firearms, prohibiting felons from carrying guns, criminal and age background checks, required 14-day gun training, no loopholes for gun show and private sales, and outlawing internet gun sales.
Miguel Garcia, a student in the class, said, “We learned on average there’s about one school shooting per week since the start of 2018. The shooting in Florida sparked something in young people. They feel they can make change.” Garcia continued, “We have the power of social media. It gives a bigger reach. We can get information in a couple of seconds.”
Writing a resolution
After much discussion and research on how to write a resolution, the students worked in groups of three and four to write statements on ways to stop gun violence. They took their first draft to the Alhambra Democratic Club to read and get feedback from the members, several of whom have written resolutions. The most common suggestion was to “edit it down to one page.”
Back in the classroom, Mr. Sanchez and the students got to work determining what changes needed to be made. They invited Adele Andrade-Stadler, Alhambra School Board Member and Sean McMorris, President of the Alhambra Democratic Club, to their class to discuss the process of resolutions and to help with the rewriting and editing.
Mr. Sanchez’s class reached out to the Alhambra Democratic Club for guidance in the resolution writing process. The club was happy to oblige. The students researched and wrote everything in the resolution. We just provided the feedback.
We’re…happy to see that such intelligent young adults are engaging in the democratic process.
Ms. Andrade-Stadler said:
…Their creation of this resolution is a perfect example of how a group, with teamwork, can become civically engage in their community and make a difference in their world. Kudos to Mr. Sanchez for guiding a student led resolution!
“I think I’ve realized how tedious this process is.” Bliss Aguirre, a student, said. “But it’s good in an American government class for us to understand first-hand experience what it takes to even draft a resolution and then present it to the appropriate individuals in our city. I think everyone in the class shares the same sentiment that I do, that this is our hard work demonstrated in a document. It’s all our efforts put into this. In a way, we’re all very passionate about what we have drafted because we do want to see change. There are a lot of individuals that want to see that change, but are not willing to put in the effort to make that change happen. As young people, we have to do that.”
“I’ve learned first hand the steps that the political process takes to draft a resolution for making policy change,” Lorenzo Gardea said.
Internet sales of guns
Sujit Gurung and Rainier Quilala were working together on a segment to stop internet sales of guns. “It’s an easy way to buy stuff online,” Gurung said. “There is the dark web. There are other sites as well to buy from and there are no security checks.”
“Ms. Adele told us how no one has paid anything for gun violence research in 22 years.” Gurung continued. “That’s pretty shocking and sad. We hear about it weekly. We need to do something about it. Working on this resolution gives me hope that we can make a change. Everyone is paying attention to us students and I feel we have a voice to make a change.”
“We need to bring awareness so people know what’s going on,” Quilala added.
The next step for the class is to bring the finished resolution back to the Alhambra Democratic Club. They will again read it, and then the Club will vote whether to support it or not. They will also be presenting it to the Alhambra City Council and the Alhambra School Board.
Ms. Andrade-Stadler is hoping to arrange for Representative Judy Chu to visit the class so they can then present to her RESOLUTION NO. D-311: Resolution on Preventing Gun Violence to be read and presented to the United States House of Representatives.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the students of Alhambra High School call upon the United States Congress, including all members of the California delegation, to work with Donald J. Trump to enact stricter gun legislation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we the students of Mr. Sanchez’s third period American government class have taken it upon ourselves to bring about the change that we would like to see. As the next generation of dedicated and driven young Americans, we have drafted a resolution in- order- to contribute our efforts to the overall goal of halting the presence of gun violence in our schools.
~ Mr. Sanchez’s Third Period American Government Class,
Alhambra High School.
Cheryl Cabot lives in San Gabriel. She’s a retired school teacher, free-lance writer, political activist, grandmother and avid lawn bowler.
[This article has been updated to include a link, May 5, 2018 11:45 p.m.]
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