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Lawmakers respond to students who wrote them letters rather than walk out of school
Some Pennsylvania students who skipped the National School Walkout got to meet with state lawmakers about school safety. (Image source: KDKA-TV video screenshot)

Lawmakers respond to students who wrote them letters rather than walk out of school

Some Pennsylvania students who decided to write letters to their state lawmakers instead of participating in the National School Walkout last week had a chance to meet with politicians Friday morning.

“To have our student body lead this with our politicians today and have their questions heard, have their questions answered, means the world to us as a staff,” said Moon Area High School assistant principal Jason D’Alesio, KDKA-TV reported.

Students who attended from Moon Area High School in Moon Township learned about two new laws that are in the works. They also had a chance to ask the lawmakers some questions.

What are the two bills?

One of the bills would be similar to a law used in domestic violence situations.

“The critical element of that is that you have a judge who’s making a case-by-case determination on an individual of whether or not somebody should have guns. And then there is a safety valve for a longer, more thorough hearing at a later point in time,” Republican state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler told students, KDKA reported.

The other bill would focus on students' mental health.

“In school, we’ll be able to screen 6th- and 11th-grade students for depression. If that student screens for depression, we’ll be able to get that student help. We’re going to be able to interdict early and get that person help,” Reschenthaler said.

Reschenthaler said he plans to back both bills.

What did students say?

“I feel like we answered a lot of good questions and a lot of students have been thinking about this email campaign and wondering, ‘Was it going to do anything? No one’s going to actually read these.’ To find out they actually read all of them and responded to every single question, it was great,” sophomore Izabella Angevine said.

“I hope they do follow through with that. Get more funding in our schools. That would really accomplish our goal,” Angevine added.

What else?

D’Alesio said he would keep encouraging students to do the small things that can have positive effects.

“There are many things that can be done without a dollar being spent. That’s one of the things I talk to my own daughters about," he said. "Including somebody sitting outside by themselves at lunch, outside at recess, having somebody play with you, not to bully somebody. We have to worry about right now what we can control. Right now, we can control as a student body, as an entire district, how we treat others and the culture that we create here at Moon."

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