Dylan Klein

Sean Adams/WCBS 880

Stories From Main Street: Parkland Students Light Spark For Westchester Teens Fighting For Gun Reform

April 15, 2018 - 6:02 pm

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- The young people who have been making their voices heard in Parkland, Florida following a school shooting that killed 17 people have inspired their peers here in Westchester County to take a harder look at gun laws and the political process.

The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting said, “No more.” And as Dylan Klein told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams, they lit a spark.

Klein, 17, was just a regular New Rochelle High School junior until something changed following the Parkland shooting.

“After Parkland and the March for Our Lives and the school walkouts, we really thought, ‘Hey, this is not enough. We’ve got to keep going,’” said Klein, 17, a New Rochelle High School junior. “So we’re kind of bringing pressing questions to candidates at a forum. We’re also going to continue to push for legislation on gun control and try and prevent gun violence.”

Klein is one of the students across the county who joined forces for the Westchester Student Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Just weeks old, the coalition has already hosted a forum with the candidates in the special New York State Senate election, as Klein noted.

“I think they notice that we’re what’s going to be the driving voice of the future,” Klein said.

The voice is too loud to be ignored, he said.

“Because I think we have about 10 million people voting within the next year that are 17 and 18,” Klein said.

They are all haunted by the specter of this epidemic of school shootings.

“It’s in the back of my mind every day when I go into school now,” Klein said.

The Parkland shooter pulled the fire alarm to lure students to the hallways. Recently, an alarm sounded at New Rochelle High School too.

Klein paused.

“What if we’re getting lined up here?” he said. “What if this is actually real?”

It was a false alarm.

“We went back inside, and we were OK. We were happy. We were relieved. But it shook me. It’s scary. Sometimes I don’t want to go to school because of it; because I think this could happen. But you’ve just got to press on and show that we’re strong,” Klein said. “That’s it.”

The coalition will press for sensible gun legislation and will keep an eye on future elections.

“Maybe we hold a forum for them also, or maybe we start organizing more walkouts; more protests; more rallies, whatever we have to do to push this,” Klein said.