On Wednesday, 13-year-old Benje Choucroun made a special appearance at a White House press briefing for his role as a writer for Time for Kids magazine. And, as any good reporter would do, Choucroun came prepared with a few questions, one of which left White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders nearly in tears.
During the briefing, Sanders smiled, pointed to the back and called on Choucroun to ask his question. The middle schooler, who currently attends Marin Country Day School in California, proudly stood up and explained, “At my school, we recently had a lockdown drill. One thing that affects mine and other student’s mental health is the worry that we or our friends could get shot at school.” He then asked, “Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless strategies.”
Sanders immediately jumped into an answer — as press secretaries tend to do — but this time, her voice shook as she appeared to be holding back tears.
“I think that as a kid and certainly as a parent, there is nothing more terrifying than for a kid to go to school and not feel safe, so I’m sorry that you feel that way,” Sanders replied. “This administration takes it seriously and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week, again, an official meeting, to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids within our schools and to make them feel safe and to make their parents feel good about dropping them off.”
Following the briefing, CNN’s Dana Bash commented that “It looked like it was going to potentially be a light-hearted moment. And he had the toughest question in the room.” MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson called it “an unusual moment from a very articulate young man.”
Since January, there have been at least two dozen school shootings across the nation, which according to CNN equates to at least one school shooting per week so far. But, in the wake of these tragedies, it appears to be the voices of children, not adults, that ring out the loudest. Following the February school shooting in Parkland, Flordia, students affected by the senseless violence have come together to push lawmakers to take action. And their efforts appear to be working.
According to the Sun Sentinal, since the Parkland shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people, “14 states have changed their laws, while six major actions have been undertaken by cities and counties. Meanwhile, 10 companies tweaked their policies related to guns and 19 businesses have cut ties with gun lobbying groups.”
President Donald Trump is expected to visit the survivors of the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas on Thursday. That shooting, which took place on May 18, claimed the lives of 10 people, including both students and teachers. However, on May 4, Trump walked back on his promise to the Parkland students that he will be tougher on the National Rifle Association. Instead, while speaking at an NRA conference, Trump enthusiastically told the crowd, “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege. But they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.”
Parkland Students Show Support for Survivors of Maryland School Shooting on Twitter
Two Parkland Students Have a Message for People in Power: ‘Do the Things We Can’t’
Santa Fe High School Shooting Survivors Call for an End to Gun Violence ‘Inaction’