'Time for change': Carroll County students, community members prepare for March For Our Lives

South Carroll High School students make posters in preparation for March For Our Lives March 23, 2018.

Students stood crouched over tables in a South Carroll High School classroom, some tracing letter stencils, others outlining words with markers to make them stand out.

The small group represented a handful of the approximately 100 students, mainly from South Carroll High School, who are taking two buses to Washington, D.C., for the March For Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, a rally in support of student safety in schools.


“I’m just so tired of seeing school shooting after school shooting,” said South Carroll senior Andi Troll, of Westminster. “It’s exhausting and it’s scary and we need to do something about it and we’re not doing anything about it and it keeps happening … It’s time for change.”

Troll said it’s “really great” to have so many kids going from Carroll because it’s a “pretty conservative county.” She said the march is an act of unity. She said they’re going to get to meet U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., too.

“I hope that we get more regulation and that more people get on board to actually change something, instead of just sending their condolences or their thoughts and prayers and stuff. Like, that’s great, but we need to actually take action,” she said.

The March For Our Lives rally was organized by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida. The event is expected to bring more than 500,000 people to Washington on Saturday.

In addition to the main rally, as of Friday afternoon, 840 “sibling marches” are currently registered to take place around the globe, according to the event’s website. At noon, those in attendance will rally on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington to “demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today,” according to the event’s website.

Andi Troll, a South Carroll High School senior, works on a sign at South Carroll High School on March 23, 2018, for the March For Our Lives rally, which is scheduled for March 24.
Andi Troll, a South Carroll High School senior, works on a sign at South Carroll High School on March 23, 2018, for the March For Our Lives rally, which is scheduled for March 24. (Emily Chappell photo)

“I’m tired of people dying in schools because of gun violence,” said Christina Wolfrey, 17, of Mount Airy.

Wolfrey, a senior at South Carroll High, was also making posters Friday afternoon in preparation for the event.

“I’m sick of it and I feel like this is our chance of putting our voices out there in a big way and being a part of something bigger than ourselves,” she said.

Wolfrey also said the fact the march is student-created and student-driven is telling of what the future will be, something that’s exciting, and added she’s “very proud to be a part of it.”

The South Carroll students are heading down in two buses with a number of chaperones, Wolfrey said.

Others are going to Washington on a school bus chartered by Carroll CAN, a local organization that has been politically active since November 2016, first sending buses of people to the Women’s March in 2017, and then holding a local march this past year.

Carroll CAN is sending one bus to Saturday’s march, said Linda Hagan, a Westminster resident and member of the group.

Hagan said she helped to organize the trip — they were able to fill a school bus for 44 people, she said. Those who will be attending are members of the group as well as some students in the community.

“Several people said they really felt like this was an important issue,” she said. “We feel like we need to support them,” she added, referring to the Parkland students working to make change.


Hagan said they’re not trying to take anyone’s guns away that are used for hunting or safety, but there are military weapons out in the public, and that’s a problem. It’s a safety issues when children “can’t even go to school without being afraid,” she said.

The Baltimore middle school choir whose powerful rendition of “Rise Up” went viral last fall performed at the March For Our Lives anti-gun violence protest Saturday in Washington, D.C.

“Too many kids have lost their lives,” she said.

Calls for school safety have continued to come following the Florida shooting last month, and have intensified in Maryland after a shooting in Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County this past week.

On the same day as the shooting, Carroll County Public Schools announced it will now have armed law enforcement presence in some schools. There will be uniformed deputies that interact with students and faculty, and also act as a “visible deterrent to any criminal activity,” the school system said in a press release.

This security plan is designed to “improve safety and security for the remainder of this school year,” and conversations around the possibilities and feasibility of staffing a resource officer program is being looked at. The cost of having the deputies at the schools will be covered by money allocated by the Board of County Commissioners, although the exact amount it will cost is unclear.