An issues forum to discuss gun violence in America and how to stop it will be held at Huntington High School on Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. Students, faculty, support staff and community members are encouraged to attend.
The forum will explore possible policy solutions to the pressing issue of how mass shootings in school communities can be stopped. Students who attend the session will earn two hours of community service credit as well as credit toward meeting Participation in Government course requirements.
“When it became clear that a national student movement was developing in response to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, this National Issues Forum was the first option that came to mind,” Huntington Principal Brenden Cusack said. “This type of discussion venue is something that has been utilized in the past and all of those involved in the Social Studies Department have done great work in helping students and community members to have their voices heard on a host of critical social and political topics.”
Students and teachers will moderate the forum. The Social Studies Honor Society has been working with Chairman of Humanities Joseph Leavy and department members to plan and promote the evening and to prepare to moderate the session.
“I am so proud of our students, so many of whom are civic minded and genuinely thoughtful about the issues that face us,” Mr. Cusack said. “They are passionate about serving the public in a way that will foster healthy, meaningful and productive dialogue. I believe the forum on Tuesday, March 13 will be a shining example of what can be accomplished when truly motivated students and faculty members collaborate.”
Mr. Leavy said the event will use the “core skill set of public deliberation,” which is taught to all seniors and receives a special focus in Participation in Government classes. “The forum process is to first name and frame an issue of great importance and urgency and then take counsel with one another in small group deliberative discussions that seek common ground solutions.”
Mr. Leavy along with social studies teachers Kenneth Donovan (the Social Studies Honor Society’s faculty advisor) and Jordan Gould and 15-20 students who have been specially trained and fondly known as Democracy Fellows will serve as moderators. “Their role is crucial in moderating to hear voices from all and to facilitate listening as each vested speaker shares their opinion and values and oftentimes their personal stake,” Mr. Leavy said.