Following a mass walkout by Utah students to protest school violence, a group of Utah lawmakers says they plan to hold a series of town hall meetings with high school students across the state to discuss gun violence and teen suicide.
Additionally, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, says she will introduce legislation to fund the largest study of “rampage violence” ever done by a state.
“We’re studying suicide and using that data to respond to the crisis,” said Pulsipher. “We need to do the same thing with rampage violence.”
Wednesday’s walkout came one month to the day after a gunman killed 17 people in a Florida high school.
The times and places for the town hall meetings have yet to be announced.
“I was heartbroken when I saw the pictures of students walking out of classrooms,” said Senator Curt Bramble, R-Provo, in a press release. “We need to encourage the youth to talk with us. We can do better. We want to give these students a forum to be heard and an opportunity to affect change. We want to hear their voices.”
“We want these students to know how much we care about them,” said Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, who has authored many of Utah’s suicide prevention laws. “We demonstrate that by listening to them and then acting on their concerns. And they need to know we share their concerns.”
According to a press release, several lawmakers have committed to taking part in the town hall meetings: