Students Vote poll coming to Newsela: Gun Policy and School Safety
When a devastating shooting hit Parkland, Florida, thousands of young activists were created, seemingly in an instant. It is another chapter in a long American story in which students have been agents for change. From student-led sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement and university protests against the Vietnam War, students have long been at the forefront of activism.
Over the past two weeks, many of you have seen your students discussing school shootings and guns, and even preparing to march. You are surely proud of their passion for taking civic action. Yet you understand that passion uninformed by facts and critical thinking may be divisive. To effectively advocate for change, students must first understand the current system and perspectives while avoiding snap judgements and biases.
We share your pride and your concerns. The Parkland tragedy was a teachable moment that no one wanted or asked for. Hundreds of thousands of high schoolers are speaking out about gun policy and school safety. In three weeks, many will take to the streets with a call for lawmakers to take action. But what will they ask for?
Starting March 12, Newsela will be polling high school students about proposed legislation and policies on guns and school safety. It’s an opportunity for your students’ voices to be heard. But more importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to help your students get informed. In doing so, your students will be able to come to their own fact-based opinions before they respond to the poll and before they see what their peers think.
We’ve also created this Text Set on gun violence, school safety and the role of guns in America, to inform classroom discussions or for your students to read on their own.
Student voices can be incredibly powerful instruments for change. Have your students sign in to Newsela the week of March 12-16. Let’s work together to give students what they need to apply learning to the real world.
More details on Students Vote polls:
What will students see?: High school Newsela readers will be prompted to participate in an optional 5-question poll on Newsela.com that will ask students for their opinions about proposed legislation relating to gun laws and school safety. Newsela will share how students across the nation responded in an article on the website. Any teacher votes will be filtered out of the results.
When is this happening?: POLLING EXTENDED: we've extended voting through Wednesday, March 21.
Who can vote?: Because of the mature nature of this particular issue, we are only opening this poll to students in grades 9 and above. We plan to reuse this polling function in the future to give students across grade bands the chance to voice their opinions on a wide variety of issues. To have your students see the polls, make sure you've added them to a class on Newsela.
What will happen with the results?: After polling closes, we carefully tally student votes and publish an original Newsela piece on the results the week of March 19.