On Thursday, March 15, Bellows Falls Middle School hosted a Student Town Hall Meeting centered around school violence, gun control, and the second amendment. This event was organized with the intent of providing students with a forum in which they could express their feelings around these important and relevant topics. Originally scheduled to coincide with the March 14th National Student Walkout Event, students worked with their Social Studies and ELA teachers on journaling and reflective activities prior to the Town Hall Meeting. The event provided an alternate and safe space for BFMS youth to express themselves, while also being fully immersed in the Vermont tradition of Town Hall Meetings.
The assembly was led by a selected group of eighth graders and started with a moment of silence for the victims of all gun violence across the country. Afterwards, rules and norms were established to ensure active participation and respect from members of the audience. Students were asked questions such as, “In what ways do you feel safe at school”, and “Why do you think some students resort to anger?”. The conversation was lively, thoughtful and deeply engaging – BFMS youth from all grades shared their thoughts and opinions on the second amendment, gun control, and how to make schools safer. Opinions from both sides were heard with respect and students acknowledged each other in a very supportive manner.