Senior Sophie Herrmann advocates for Students Demand Action program


Ashley Ortizcazarin (KE Design by Andrew Cadle)

In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, senior Sophie Herrmann has dedicated herself to speaking out about the need for gun control and common sense gun laws.

In wake of the now infamous shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, high school students around the country have spoken out over epidemic of mass shootings in American high schools. At BSM, senior Sophie Herrmann has gotten involved in the conversation and has taken initiative in the awareness and debate around gun control and student safety.

After the Parkland shooting, a flood of emotions overtook Herrmann. She experienced hopelessness and anger at the situation and sadness for the deaths of so many high school students with bright futures. Along with this, Herrmann found fault with the common consoling tweets of politicians, and she believed that greater action than just “thoughts and prayers” needed to be taken. ”I think it’s time for students to be part of this fight,” Herrmann said

After seeing the strong student voices calling for gun reform from the survivors of the Parkland shooting, Herrmann emailed Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action, one of the largest gun control advocacy group in the country. “The next day, the Deputy National Organizing Director emailed me and told me that there were many students who felt the same way and wanted to take action, so they were going to start Students Demand Action” Herrmann said.

Through a network of high school students throughout the nation and a Facebook group, Herrmann communicated with dozens of other students to create a mission statement and gain momentum. On her Instagram account, Herrmann has posted a phone number that gives students an opportunity to join the movement, which delivers power to the generation who has most directly felt the impact of mass shootings. “Students should not feel unsafe going to school,” Herrmann said.

Not only did Herrmann have a hand in the creation of this group, but she was also quoted about her involvement in the program by Reuters:

“‘We can do social media like no one else,’ said Sophie Herrmann, 18, a senior seeking to start a Students Demand Action group at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, a Catholic high school in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. ‘We are ready to take on the fight’… ‘We are ready. If Congress isn’t going to fight for common sense gun remedies, then let us take those spots,’ Herrmann said.”

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Herrmann grew up with a strong interest in politics and became very involved before she could even vote by working for her state representative. When it comes to the Parkland shooting, Herrmann knows that the issue is very complicated and there is no one right answer, but strives to understand the truth of the problem and diminish the inaccurate stigmas that cause so much debate. “There will always be people with mental illness, but they are not the problem. Every country has mentally ill people, but not every country has this many school shootings,” Herrmann said.

This generation of high school students are not only the ones affected most by the mass shootings, they are also the generation who will one day take leadership positions in our government, court systems, and businesses; because of this, Herrmann believes that it is important to understand the power of voting and realize the value of being an informed, educated, and politically-opinionated citizen. “Politics affect every single part of life. It is an umbrella term that affects how decisions are made in a country, and that’s something everyone should care about,” Herrmann said.