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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Akron chapter.

The Parkland students continue to make headlines in their continued struggle for gun control almost two months after the tragic shooting at their high school, showing that they have the media-savvy, ambitions and intelligence to make actual change, an inspiration to us all. As part of new safety measures at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the students were subject to security barriers, bag checks, new identification tags and free clear backpacks that they all have to have on them at all times. The Parkland students have reacted with fury and sarcastic jabs, turning the laughable safety measure into the newest internet meme.

The backpacks were donated by Walmart and the Broward Education Foundation, but the students are calling the backpacks an invasion of privacy, an inadequate attempt to protect them and an endeavor to avoid the actual problem at hand: weak gun laws.  Julie Shinn, a parent, stated, “If we’re not going to do anything about our lax gun laws, then my son needs a bullet proof backpack, not a clear one.” Senior Kyra Parrow said that they are “just the illusion of security.” Kyrah Simon pointed out in another tweet that the money for the backpacks could have instead gone towards buyback programs or counseling or the backpacks could have even been donated to children without backpacks. Another student, Lauren Hogg, sister of David Hogg, one of the leaders of the March for Our Lives Movement who was accused of being of a ‘crisis actor,’ tweeted “My new backpack is almost as transparent as the NRA’s agenda.” Other students using the clear backpacks to call out the NRA, include senior, Carmen Lo , who attached a $1.05 sign on her backpack. This number stands for the price of every life of every Florida student based off of how much money Marco Rubio, a Republican senator, accepted from the NRA per Florida student. The now viral photo of Lo with her backpack was tweeted with the caption, “This backpack is probably worth more than my life.”

Other students filled their backpacks creatively to protest the clear backpacks. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas students created an Instagram account that shows off how they’re filling their clear backpacks. Some students have taken to filling their backpacks with popular memes, rubber ducks, an aquarium, condoms or even in one case, tampons.

Cameron Kasky, a junior, filled his backpack with tampons and discovered just how expensive tampons are, tweeting that tampons shouldn’t be that expensive. Hopefully, after these incredible students fight the NRA, they can take on the luxury tax on tampons.

While the Parkland students have made excellent points about how clear backpacks don’t make them any safer and ignore the real problem at hand, a black teen named Eve, in a series of tweets that have made their  rounds on social media, called out the fact that clear backpacks, ID cards and security checks have been common in predominately African Americans school for years without any backlash. Many agreed with her comments but added that the Parkland students are using actually using their privilege to draw attention to the issue, explaining that while they weren’t fighting for gun control until it affected them, their privilege and access to resources allows them to make a difference.

The Parkland students are thankfully using their privilege by not ignoring gun violence in African American communities. David Hogg said that the media needed to give “black students a voice,” and Jaclyn Corin, another Parkland student, eloquently stated that, “We recognize that Parkland received more attention because of its affluence, but we share this stage today and forever with those communities who have always stared down the barrel of a gun.”

It’s so important that the Parkland survivors continue utilizing their status and skills while harnessing the media’s attention to further their cause and stand up for what they believe in. Meanwhile, they will continue to share the stage with communities long ignored in the fight against gun violence. #NeverAgain

Emily Janikowski, otherwise known as Em, can be found usually lurking in the depths of the Polsky building as a writing tutor, and when she isn't there, she is curled up in bed binge watching Law & Order SVU. Her passion lies in changing the world, and she hopes to accomplish this through majoring in social work.
Abbey is an Ohio native currently caught between the charm of the Midwest and the lure of the big city. She loves all things politics and pop culture, and is always ready to discuss the intersections of both. Her favorite season is awards season and she is a tireless advocate of the Oxford Comma. Abbey will take a cup of lemon tea over coffee any day and believes that she can convince you to do the same. As a former English major, she holds the power of words near and dear.