McAllen Students Create School Violence Awareness Video

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MCALLEN – Marches, campaigns and a video created to go viral.

Local students were touched by recent events so much, they did a school project over it to send the message that something needs to be done about children being killed at school.

“When’s the next one?” asked Karla Vargas, a junior at McAllen High School, “because there’s no change that’s been happening.”

Through a two-minute video, Vargas, senior Kevin Cavazos, junior May Ramirez and John Rodriguez, a junior at McAllen Memorial High School are looking to inspire change in the way school violence is handled.

The video’s creation started with a prompt, “Stuck on repeat,” in the Crazy 8’s Short Film competition, one of 30 in the International Student Television Network Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The idea is to really challenge the students both technically but also creatively. And that’s what’s wonderful about this competition," explained Rob Garza, the students’ audio and video production instructor.

The video starts off portraying a happy mood until it turns serious.

Depicted are the dates of past school shootings, along with where they happened – such as Columbine, Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas. 

“We’ve had over 30 shootings in January alone. It shouldn’t be like this," Cavazos says in the video. 

Garza describes the moment after the audience watched the video, “It was a very humbling moment, to say the least. The audience was silent. The video finished playing and it was just dead silence in the whole auditorium.”

“It was like no feeling I’ve ever felt. It was absolutely phenomenal seeing that we touched these many people and seeing their reactions,” says Rodriguez.

When asked what he would say to the children impacted by any of the nationwide school shootings, Rodriguez responds with, “I don’t think there’s many words we could say to them. I think they’ve heard ‘Sorry’ enough. I think all that we can do now is make a change.”

The high school students say they want their video to serve as a sign that they are alongside every other student in the U.S. that has protested, gone to Washington, D.C. and marched out of their schools for gun control.

In recent weeks, employees with McAllen Independent School District have raised awareness on the topic with parents and students by encouraging, "See something, say something."

Schools in the district have also increased practice drills, expanded use of School Messenger – an application used to notify parents via phone call, text, email – tightened fencing and gates, and have invested in a drone unit.

The teens mention they do feel safe because of the amount of security McAllen ISD provides, but they want those who watch the video to know that their generation will not settle until something is done.

The video can be watched here.