In February of 2018, a mass shooting occurred in Parkland Florida, killing 17 students and inciting national outcry. That was one of 307 mass shootings in 2018 alone. The students of Parkland formed “March For Our Lives”, and held one of the biggest youth protests since the Vietnam War. On their website, their mission statement is, “To harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives.” As of April 29, 2019, they have released a jarring, dark, and brutally honest PSA that sheds light on the normalized horrors that America’s youth experiences, and calls for immediate action.
The PSA opens with a collection of real staff members to some sort of undisclosed business. The entire staff appears to be over the age of 20, and they are preparing to learn how to perform an active shooter drill. The group leader then brings out a young child. The girl, Kayleigh, who is most definitely a member of “Generation Lockdown” is incredibly familiar with the process of active shooter drills, and she should be. After all, the percentage of public schools in the United States running such drills was almost 95% in 2015/2016 (and that was before Parkland).
Kayleigh begins her time with the adults by informing them that if this were an active shooter drill, they would all be dead. She tells them about how they should have crouched, ran, and most importantly: remained silent. Kayleigh explains how to hide in a classroom, a remain safe in a bathroom, and how to gather information to best avoid the shooter. This young girl, wearing overalls and a serious expression, explains the realities of drills with a casualty as the older onlookers stare down at her, offering teary eyes and shocked replies.
The video concludes with Kayleigh’s haunting rendition of a song they sing in school, “Lockdown, lockdown let’s all hide…Lock the doors and stay inside…Crouch on down…Don’t make a sound…And don’t cry or you’ll be found…”
March For Our Lives released this video on Twitter and unveiled a new section to their website, labeled “Generation Lockdown.” This new portion of their website states, “A child’s most important lesson shouldn’t be how to survive.” and calls for people to share their #GenerationLockdown stories. The purpose of the new “Generation Lockdown” initiative is to shed light on gun violence in the United States and to promote Senate Resolution 42 (Background Check Expansion Act). This video follows the passing of a bill allowing armed teachers in classrooms in Florida.
“Generation Lockdown” is not only the latest March For Our Lives program but an incredibly accurate moniker for American students today. Ask most students in the United States and they can m recount stories about active shooter drills, and many can even offer stories about times they went into lockdown when it wasn’t a drill. As America’s youth develops PTSD, becomes numb to news of loss, and continues crouching in the dark – for so many it feels as though this will not be the final Generation Lockdown if the pattern of gun violence in American schools continues.
Featured Image courtesy of the official March For Our Lives video