Post Content

‘We can’t stay silent’: TJ students protest gun violence after Texas school shooting

(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) Leon Jia should’ve been working on his neuroscience homework Wednesday night (May 25).

Instead, just 10 days before his graduation, the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) senior was busy reaching out to classmates and various student leaders, and in less than 48 hours, they had potentially half the student body ready to walk out in protest of gun violence.

More than 100 students filed out of the magnet school on Braddock Road at 9 a.m. today (Friday), spurred by the same frustration, grief, and desire for action in the wake of the recent Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that has inspired walkouts across Northern Virginia, including at McLean High School.

“I think this is a voice of anger and of mourning for the lives that were lost and for the events that led to this,” Jia said.

The 18-year-old gunman who stormed Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday (May 24) killed 19 kids and two teachers, making it the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012.

As TJ’s student body president, Jia says multiple people approached him on Wednesday, asking if there were plans for a walkout in response to the shooting. He soon learned that a couple of groups were planning protests and started working with them to coordinate their actions, including communicating their plans to the school administration.

While this was Jia’s first time helping organize a school walkout, many of the students involved had prior experience. More than 800 TJ students participated in the widespread protests after the Parkland school shooting in 2018, and this past March, students walked out to call for action on climate change.

Talking to FFXnow yesterday (Thursday), Jia said he feels walkouts have become almost “mundane somehow,” so he wanted the upcoming protest to be one that “has impact.”

“The issue of school shootings has gone on for so long and there have been so many,” Jia said. “It’s like clockwork. They just rhythmically puncture the fabric of America, but at the same time, there’s a certain responsibility that we can’t stay silent and do nothing.”

After gathering in front of the school’s domed entrance, the students marched along Minor Lane, which encircles the main building. At the school stadium, students planned to have speeches, chants, and a 21-minute moment of silence.

Media were not allowed on school grounds, Fairfax County Public Schools told FFXnow.

One of the students who spoke during the protest was Vihaan Mathur, a junior at TJ. Noting that more kids have been killed in school shootings this year than police officers have in the line of duty, he lamented the lack of policy changes in response to mass shootings, saying that “the government and public express their sorrow, yet nothing happens.”

He also reflected on the fact that the students killed in Newport would’ve been their age by now.

“These children were our age and should be in high school right now,” Mathur said in his speech, which he shared with FFXnow. “They should be buying prom dresses, going to visit colleges, and standing HERE next to us but their parents and families have had to live 10 painful years without them.”

Mathur says he volunteered to speak at the protest because he wanted his voice to be heard.

“I honestly just wanted to do something,” he told FFXnow. “We often feel so helpless in such large, national issues that seem to have no solution.”

The walkout came a day after the Fairfax County School Board directed Superintendent Scott Brabrand “to conduct a holistic review of safety and security protocols and procedures in all FCPS buildings,” FCPS said in a news release. The board also urged FCPS to prioritize a plan to install security vestibules in all school facilities.

Jia says school shootings like the one in Texas make him “more angry and sad than afraid.” He typically doesn’t feel concerned for his safety while at school, noting that “that’s how it should be,” but he’s aware of how easily that feeling of security can be shattered.

“I don’t know if it hit close to home, but it’s quite frankly outrageous, and it angers me and other people, and of course, it’s indescribably tragic,” he said.

Recent Stories

With the Silver Line Phase II opening still in flux, Fairfax County is being asked to pay another $40 million. At its transportation committee meeting on Friday (Sept. 30), the…

Fairfax County is seeking public input on plans that could put Trailside Park (6000 Trailside Drive) in Springfield in a new light and add more utility to the location. A…

This Tuesday is National Taco Day and Neighborhood lists some local favorites to grab tacos at.

Recent violent incidents around Vienna included a confrontation between a man and two others leaving his apartment and a battle between a local resident and an Amazon delivery truck. The…

Looking for a more convenient way to work out?

On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.

We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.

Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.

Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Rescue Reston’s 10th Anniversary Rally for Open Space

Join us on Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 1 pm to 3 pm where it all began in 2012 at the Hartke Building parking lot. We coalesced around a common vision, and purpose and have moved forward with unwavering community

Reston Home Tour

Reston Museum’s 20th Reston Home Tour features homes include an award-winning modern masterpiece tucked back in a wooded oasis, a beautifully-landscaped personal “club house” offering amazing views of the golf course, a newly-renovated Reston Town Center townhouse with a water

×

Subscribe to our mailing list