Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are speaking out as their school implements mandatory see-through backpacks as a new safety measure, calling on lawmakers for "real change."
The Parkland, Florida school shooting survivors return to school on Monday for the first time since the March For Our Lives events across the country, which they helped organize. The teenagers were met with a number of strict new security measures, including clear plastic backpacks that lawmakers hope will make it impossible for students to sneak firearms onto the campus.
"Going to school is really so hard, and now it's going to be so much worse," senior Isabelle Robinson told CNN. "A lot of the people I've talked to are dreading going back."
The students are still riding the high of the March For Our Lives events, which gained national attention, raised millions of dollars and attracted celebrity support for the issue of tighter gun laws and an end to gun lobbyists.
"The march was amazing," said Daniel Bishop, a sophomore. "It was such an amazing experience to be there as a Parkland student, to experience and see all of us come together and talk about what we want to see happen."
However, their high spirits were slightly dampened when they learned that their school's first concrete action after the shooting would be the grim backpack measure.
"There's still that sense of melancholy, because what's going to happen from this?" Bishop said. "It's not like there was a magical bill that was passed that fixed all the things after the march. That didn't happen."
Florida state lawmakers did pass a law after the shooting, though it left both sides of the political spectrum unhappy. The law raised the minimum age to purchase all guns to 21 and instituted a three-day waiting period, but it also implemented a new program that will arm teachers and other school officials, putting more weapons inside the walls of school buildings.1comments
"We have no sense of normalcy anymore," said Robinson, 17. "It feels like being punished. It feels like jail, being checked every time we go to school."
The student activists do not present a unified proposal as to how America's gun violence problem can be solved. Instead, they're asking voters to pay attention to which politicians accept massive donations from gun lobbying groups, and hopefully vote them out in November, so that a more objective conversation on the topic can take place.