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The Parkland Shooting: Questions For Students


When you talk with students about the events at the Parkland High School you'll want to go beyond just saying how terrible it was.  Here are some suggestions for questions that might get students thinking more deeply about the event:


  • "Why make more laws? They'll just go around them anyway." It's true that people go around laws all the time (have any of your students driven faster than the posted speed limit?).  Since this is true, does it make sense to argue that making more laws around guns is a waste of time?
  • Women's March - why not a Men's March? So there will be a school walkout organized by the Women's March. But let's ask our students: why isn't there a Men's March? What is it about how we expect men to feel and act that makes them less likely to organize marches against gun laws?
  • "The shooter is "mentally ill" so there's nothing we can do". What's the problem with this argument? One perspective: "mentally ill" or "mentally healthy" are not either/or states. We're all on a continuum, and we don't yet have the ability to positively identify someone who is of sufficient "illness" to drive them to kill many people. 
  • Shooters are always boys: why is this? Is it nature or nurture? If it's nature, then is there anything at all that can be done? If it's nurture, then what do we need to do differently when raising boys?
  • How to keep the momentum alive: just like with the #metoo movement, what do your students suggest will keep our concern about children's safety upper most in our minds? What do we have to do to keep it from fading away - again?



And of course, we should encourage our students to obtain some research on this topic so that they know they should have data to back up their opinions.


It's going to be hard for us professors to talk with our students about this horrible event. We here in the Faculty Community wish you well with whatever approach you decide to take with your students and would of course, be interested in hearing how it went for you.

New Member

Thank you for suggesting these difficult questions for discussion with students.  Some others:  Is there anything teachers can do right now besides talking?  Why are many people adamantly in favor owning these weapons?  Can their minds be changed?  Guns are big business and money influences legislators.  But drugs are big business too.  Why can't we outlaw these weapons like heroin?  Big pharma's opioids took the place of heroin.  Prohibition didn't work.  Would the same thing happen with guns?  


Thanks Rob for these questions.  I'd especially love to hear responses to your first question: 


Is there anything teachers can do right now besides talking?


Many of my students are marching; we could join them!


Hi Rob,


You asked great questions. One thing teachers can do is to write letter to the legislators and have students and parents to the same.