I did not vote for you, I didn’t like your ads, I didn’t like your policies. But you ran an intelligent campaign, and you are the governor-elect for the state of Georiga. I respect your authority over my state, and I ask that you consider my request with the same respect. As you’ve said on your campaign trail, you want to put students first. I want that, too.
The public education system in Georgia is wonderful. We have come so far, and we have even further to go. I am proud of the education I received here. I had amazing teachers and all the resources I needed to succeed. However, on my last day of high school in 2017, I experienced my first code red.
We’d drilled it before, we knew what to do if we ever went on lockdown, but it was something else entirely to live it. A student was stabbed in my school, and all I knew is that it was a freshman. I didn’t know who, and at the time, my little sister was a freshman. I was stuffed into a closet with around twenty other students; we were scared, we were distressed, and we wanted to know if our friends and family were safe. We were not in any immediate danger. Local police took care of the situation and kept us safe. My sister was fine, though she saw the injured student. We made it home together and took the time to be grateful for our lives amidst heavy traffic.
I think about this day a lot, and I think about how it doesn’t even compare the trauma, fear, and death the students at more than 280 American schools have experienced. I protested with March for Our Lives this year, I listened to the accounts of school shooting victims, and I’ve been a public school student myself in the past ten years. I know the fear, but my little sister knows it in a way I never did.
I never had to go back into that high school after that event. I didn’t hear about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas from my classroom. My sister is scared for her safety every day in a place where her biggest fear should be how well she did on a test. Our student’s safety in the state of Georgia should be a concern to all of us.
Mr. Kemp, I ask that during your time as governor, you put students and their safety first. I’m not asking for guns to be taken away from responsible Georgians, I want guns kept out of the hands of people who want to do harm to children. I want to see security measures taken at public schools to keep the students inside safe, and better laws to keep guns out of the hands they shouldn’t be in.
I know you ran your campaign on having guns “no one is taking away,” and I know you are endorsed by the NRA, but I ask that you do what you can to keep my little sister safe at school. Live up to your word and put students first: keep them safe.