Student Standouts: 9.6.23

Israel Lanos of Grand Center Arts Academy

The issue of gun violence in schools is a very real one, and it’s something Israel Lanos refuses to stay quiet about. To help make St. Louis schools safer, the Grand Center Arts Academy senior participated in a student-led roundtable discussion on the subject as part of Educators for Gun Safety. The initiative was started in 2022 by leaders from Confluence Academies and St. Louis Public Schools as a way to promote age-appropriate discussions about gun safety in the classroom and at home, ensuring students’ voices are heard on this topic to create change.

Why is gun safety an important issue to you?
If no one has knowledge about gun safety and the necessary precautions, how do we expect to create a safer environment? Gun safety isn’t talked about enough in schools, and it should be since that’s where guns are being seen. Incidents with guns happen too much for it not to be addressed. Innocent lives are taken, but that still hasn’t made schools actually address the topic hands-on. It’s a topic that gets brushed off but shouldn’t when lives are involved.

How did you get involved with Educators for Gun Safety?
Mr. Cook, a teacher at my school, asked me if I was interested in doing a student panel about gun violence. It was an amazing experience. Everyone on the panel had similar ideas, but we all expressed them in different ways and gave different solutions. I’m a big advocate for gun safety, so to be in a space with other students that feel the same way, and adults who actually want to make a change, felt really good.

Why is it important for students to advocate for gun safety?
It’s to the point now where guns are being brought into schools. That’s traumatizing, and to at least try and prevent it, people need to speak up. Precautions need to be put in place, and if action isn’t being taken, it’s up to us as students to raise our voices. School should be a place where everyone feels secure and safe. Parents shouldn’t fear whether their child will be harmed. I care about my life and the people around me, so until I see a difference has been made, myself and others will continue to promote change.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to for this school year?
I’m looking forward to the events that the student council have planned, and I’m excited to be in my last year of high school .

Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy cooking and reading. In my free time, I also like to write poetry, listen to music and talk to my girlfriend.

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