The Florida students are teaching us all a lesson


After a mass shooting in an American school, students responded politically and passionately - and there's lessons we can learn.

Watch this.

And this.

And check this out.

The fallout from Florida has shown that young people are leaders. Not leaders of tomorrow, not future leaders, not leaders in training. They’re leaders now.

Young people’s participation in public discussions is often discredited, dismissed or denied simply because they are young. The stake young people have in society, and their abilities, views and opinions are often undermined by language that sentimentalises, pathologises or infantilises young people.

But these young people have smashed through that barrier.

These young people are driving change. They’re using activism. They’re organising town hall discussions. They’re organising marches. They have clear, concise calls to action. They’re rallying communities and citizens together for a cause.

... So what does this say about the role adults can play in supporting young people?

This is what it should look like.

Instead of adults acting as the gatekeeper or conduit to the thoughts, ideas and political expression of young people, the adults are stepping to the side and supporting young people as young people take centre stage and deliver their ideas first hand. 

Adults are not ‘giving them a voice’, or ‘providing a platform’ – the young people are stepping up, using their voice, and creating their own platform.

You can call the speeches of Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky presidential, amazing, passionate… anything you want. But don’t be surprised.

This is what it looks like when young people drive change.

What do you think? How could this story affect you? What are your questions, concerns, ideas or opinions?