Legislator, A-JCHS students address school safety issues
Students in Anna-Jonesboro Community High School civics classes received a visit from Illinois State Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, for a discussion and question-and-answer session on the subject of school safety on Wednesday, April 4.
Shimpf represents the 58th State Senate District, which includes parts of the Anna-Jonesboro area.
The visit came as the result of a letter-writing campaign begun by the students of A-JCHS social studies teacher Matthew Lewis.
As part of a unit on civic action, Lewis’ Media Literacy and 21st Century Citizenship classes began writing letters to state representatives, senators and Gov. Bruce Rauner expressing their growing concern about issues of school safety in Illinois.
Following the shootings at Marshall County, Ky., and Parkland, Fla., the students’ letters made a case for a statewide grant to implement and improve safety measures for Illinois schools.
Many students have received responses to their letters, including replies from Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, and State Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, D-Harrisburg.
Schimpf received letters from A-J students Alysa Acuff, Braden Harp, Bryce Lingle and Nathan Moss. In response, Schimpf agreed to meet with Lewis’ classes to address their concerns.
In addition to the students’ grant proposal, the senator discussed issues about mental health, active shooter training drills, gun control and the state budget.
Lewis says that his students have expressed interest in continuing their efforts to address safety concerns at A-JCHS and at schools throughout Illinois.