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Springfield Teens For Actions co-founder calls for change after Texas shooting

That shooting led to several movements started by students from around the country demanding stricter gun laws, including Trevaughn Smith from Springfield.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 10:26 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Just over 4 years ago, a former high school student in Parkland, Florida opened fire at his school, killing 17 and wounding 17 others.

That shooting led to several movements started by students from around the country demanding stricter gun laws, including Trevaughn Smith from Springfield.

Tuesday night, he shared his thoughts with us after yet another deadly school shooting in Texas.

February 14, 2018 is a date Trevaughn Smith will never forget. He was a senior at Sabis International Charter School in Springfield when he heard the news that 17 people were shot dead. The victims were 14 students and 3 educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The gunman was a 19 years old expelled student.

“When the Parkland shooting happened, we all felt not only just mobilized in general, but we all had a personal sense of responsibility when it came to making sure that our schools and learning environments are as safe and conducive as possible to learning,” Smith told us. “We did not see, at least at the time, adults and elected officials taking action that we thought was necessary.”

Smith said that was why he, along with hundreds of fellow student activists across the country, felt compelled to speak out about what he called common sense gun violence laws.

Co-founding the Springfield Teens For Action organization’s Youth Advisory Board, Smith set about organizing protests against gun violence.

“‘If you want something to get done properly, then do it yourself,’ was our mentality, and we ended up planning the March For Our Lives rally that happened, as well as other subsequent actions and protests,” he told us.

Now living in Washington D.C. and working on his masters degree in public policy, Smith said he is still advocating for gun control that he believes will drastically reduce the chances of another deadly school shooting from happening, but admitted there is still a long way to go.

“Ultimately, many, if not all, of the shootings we’ve seen for the past decade have been preventable,” Smith said. “You know, the anti-gun violence community has been loud and proud and fighting for the things they want and need in order to make sure our schools and our communities are safe, but unfortunately, these elected officials are not taking the necessary action to prevent these things.”