CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thursday will mark one year since the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“It’s something that will always be a life changing event, even though we didn’t experience it directly,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg student Jessica Clarke says.
The shooting that killed 17 people inside the Florida school’s walls sparked movements miles away - including marches and walkouts. Most often, high school students were the ones to take the lead, and they aim to continue that today.
“Encouraging people to vote and use their voice,” Clarke says. “I think that’s where it starts, is the roots.”
Some of the young activists like Clarke here can’t vote – not yet. So, they’ve used those voices before local leaders, encouraging further safety measures.
This year in CMS schools, those came.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, just this year, began random wanding searches. Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox has also asked for money for more school counselors and social workers.
The change is in major part pushed by the area’s own fatal shooting of 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen, inside Butler High School, last October.
“We were more fired up to say, ‘Okay, now it’s happening here, now what are we going to do next,’” Clarke says.
This young activist will soon graduate, like the other students she planned events with this time last year. She too, wants to leave a legacy for fellow teens, following the event in Florida she won’t forget.
“To not only show our sympathy toward their community, but make things better for ours,” she says.