Moon Students Press Politicians on School Violence

Start Mass Email Campaign Rather Than Walk Out.

Joe DeStio
March 16, 2018 - 2:23 pm

Photo Credit: Joe DeStio

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MOON TWP (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Students at Moon Area High School opted for more of a "teach-in" than a "walk-out." Two days after the National School Walkout in support of the 17 students and staff killed in Parkland, Florida, several hundred Moon high school students met with State Representative Mark Mustio and State Senator Guy Reschenthaler to answer their questions about how to stop school violence. The students sent more than 130 emails to the two lawmakers, asking them if they supported stricter gun control laws and funding for better mental health counseling in schools. Mustio and Reschenthaler agreed they would appear at a school assembly rather than respond to each individual email.

Mustio, a Republican who will retire at the end of this year, told the students gun control won't stop people who don't care about the law. Although he agreed there is a need to restrict bump stocks that turn semi-automatic guns into fully automatic weapons. He and Reschenthaler stressed mental health in the schools. Reschenthaler, also a Republican, is sponsoring a bill requiring mental health screening for students before grades 6 and 11. He explained his vote allowing teachers to carry guns in school by saying in some rural districts the nearest police department is 45 minutes or more away. He said he didn't expect any district he represents to allow teachers to carry guns.

Sophomore Izabella Angevine who initially organized the event said she felt it accomplished more than a walkout.

"I feel like we answered a lot of good questions. I lot of students have been thinking about the email campaign and, like, wondering if it was going to do anything. No one's actually going to read these. To find out they actually read all of them, they responded to every single question. It's great"

Asked what students were most concerned about, Angevine said, " The most concerns I believe were gun control laws, mental health, and school violence in general.

Mustio and Reschenthaler congratulated the students on their campaign and urged them not to stop. Mustio suggested they spend 17 minutes a day, or about two hours a week, advocating for the issues they care about.