La Jolla High School students protest gun violence in schools

Demonstration spreads the message that safety in schools ‘should be something … we shouldn’t have to worry about.’


Dozens of La Jolla High School students protested in La Jolla against gun violence in schools, part of demonstrations April 5 in which students from several other San Diego Unified School District campuses expressed their concerns.

“We’re supporting ending gun violence and [promoting] safety in our schools,” said Payton Smith, 17.

The protests were planned by students elsewhere in the district in response to the March 28 shooting at a Nashville private Christian school during which six people were killed.

Duncan Carswell, 18, held a sign along La Jolla Boulevard that read “Am I next?” He participated in a similar protest in 2018 to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in which two teenagers killed 13 people and wounded more than 20 others.

At the time, then-13-year-old Duncan said, “I want a safer future for me, my little sister and older brother, my friends and family. … Fear doesn’t have a place in school.”

“We’re still protesting the same ... cause,” he said April 5.

The ruling states four provisions of the Unsafe Handgun Act likely violate the Second Amendment in wake of a new standard set last year by the U.S. Supreme Court

“We want to really make sure that we’re getting support from the community about safety in our schools,” Payton said. “It should be fundamental, it should be something … we shouldn’t have to worry about. Unfortunately we do.”

Guns were at least temporarily removed from man who shot at a police helicopter and woman who flashed holstered gun when fast-food employee rejected her coupon

La Jolla High Principal Chuck Podhorsky said the school supports the students’ “rights to express their opinions” and noted that the crowd included student leaders as well as those who aren’t usually involved in leadership.

“It’s super exciting,” Podhorsky said.

A representative of the San Diego Unified district did not immediately comment to the La Jolla Light about the protests or school safety. ◆