By Sara E. Hoffmann, School & Library Series Managing Editor
When I was in school, we lived daily with the fear that we’d face a tragedy like the one that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018. And so, editing Eric Braun’s Never Again: The Parkland Shooting and the Teen Activists Leading a Movement hit extremely close to home and brought up some difficult feelings.
At the same time, coming in to work every day and delving into research on school violence in general and the Parkland tragedy in particular strengthened my resolve to make schools safe for all students. It’s one of my deepest wishes that no young person ever has to live with the oppressive fear of facing violence while at school.
Most inspiring to me was the resolve of the students who’d lived through the shooting. Emma Gonzáles, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, and others became outspoken activists only days after losing their friends and fellow students to gun violence. Another activist who touched my heart was Holden Kasky. The younger brother of Cameron Kasky, Holden is a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student with autism who appeared in a video explaining how autistic students may respond differently than other students to a situation with lots of chaos and noise like the one that took place at his school. He’s become an invaluable advocate in helping law enforcement understand how to best keep students with cognitive differences safe in the event of a tragedy.
Braun’s Never Again is an important book. One of my proudest professional moments was seeing this book get a starred review this month from Booklist. And if this book inspires and heartens other young people who are facing violence in their school, that will truly be my proudest moment.