We’re five months and 22 school shootings into 2018, and America’s students are well aware of that fact. Shooting number 22, which occurred Friday at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, motivated 18-year-old college student Andrew Schneidawind to start the hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting. As he told Teen Vogue, “Now is the time for me to step up. Now is the time for me to do something.”
I'm gonna try and get a hashtag trending called #IfIdieInASchoolShooting. If you wanna join, feel free. #IfIdieInASchoolShooting I will never be able to finish my animated TV series, I'll never be able to see my sister again, and I will have to become a martyr. #NeverAgain
— Andrew Schneidawind (@SoldierSchnyd) May 20, 2018
And do something he has — the hashtag was created on Sunday and has already been used more than 50,000 times.
Schneidawind told Teen Vogue he fears school shootings every day — and he is far from the only student to think that way. The sentiment, captured in the hashtag, has caught on with students all over the United States who are now using #IfIDieInASchoolShooting to express fear, anger, and political opinions.
#IfIDieInASchoolShooting please politicize the fuck out of my death. please use my death as activism to prevent others from dying. please put my body in the NRA parking lot
— ian quick (@ianquick_) May 20, 2018
#IfIDieInASchoolShooting Use my death to push for gun reform.
— Sarah Chadwick (@Sarahchadwickk) May 21, 2018
#IfIdieInASchoolShooting i will only become a statistic. i will never be able to go to college. my dog will always wonder where i went. i will become a hashtag. i will never be able to fight for my life again. please don’t let gun violence continue.
— presley leland (@depressedlypres) May 20, 2018
Some are using the hashtag to bring awareness to those who have already died in school shootings. “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting I’d get to see Carmen again,” Emma Gonzalez tweeted this weekend, referring to Carmen Schentrup, her friend who was killed in the Parkland, Fla., massacre. “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting or any shooting, I want to be buried right next to my brother,” March For Our Lives speaker Zion Kelly wrote.
#IfIdieInASchoolShooting or any shooting, I want to be buried right next to my brother.
— Zion Kelly (@zionkelly18) May 20, 2018
Even teachers are joining in.
#IfIDieInASchoolShooting, I hope it was instead of one of my precious students. Also, politicize thr f*** out of it. Yell, scream, cuss — and don't stop. Tolerate no BS 2nd amendment rhetoric.
— Allie ✌ (@crazycatlady145) May 20, 2018
“It’s so sad and so tragic that our kids are thinking that way; it really speaks to how commonplace these shootings have become. And it has terribly changed our youth’s attitudes,” Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in family and youth issues, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. But she does see the positive in the viral nature of this hashtag. “Kudos to these kids for making a really collective and powerful statement.”
“There are a lot of messages here,” Greenberg pointed out. There’s the fact that the students are speaking out, but there’s also the reality that many of the students are resigned to cynicism and fear. “I worry about them; I worry about kids being resigned to the fact that, yes, they might go to school and die. I worry about their level of anxiety and their level of hopelessness,” Greenberg says
This is far from the first time America’s students have expressed fear about guns in the classroom — as evidenced by both the March for Our Lives and the #MeNext movement. #IfIDieInASchoolShooting is just the latest social media movement, but it’s one that is bringing front and center to our feeds the terror that students live with daily.
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