Are students too young to understand social issues?

Northridge Middle School// WSBT 22

Students and teachers across the country are planning to take part in a national school walkout Wednesday.

More than half a dozen schools in our area, including some middle schools, are taking part in the movement spawned by the Florida school shooting.

Some people say middle-schoolers are too young. Parents may be concerned that their middle schooler doesn't fully understand the reasons behind the movement.

Child psychologists say kids are really smart at that age and they understand more than you might think.

Northridge Middle School student Kendall Ross says she knows exactly why she plans to take part in the national school walkout.

"Because I’ve had enough and being in a school shooting is awful and I don't want anyone else to feel that way,” said Ross.

Ross says by taking part in the walkout kids are saying they don't want what happened in Parkland, Florida to ever happen again.

"It's going to take a lot and we're going to have to fight. We have to take action and that's exactly what we are doing,” said Ross.

Walkout organizers say their goal is to honor the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas High School.

They're also demanding lawmakers pass stricter gun laws to ensure school safety.

"We want our parents to be able to drop us off at school and let us get on the bus and be able to feel like their kid is safe,” Ross said.

Dr. Erin Leonard, a child psychologist, says by taking part in this action kids feel empowered during a time they may be feel vulnerable. She says parents should begin asking their kids at a very early age about the images they see on TV or things they hear talked at school.

Are they too young to understand what's happening? Dr. Leonard doesn't believe so.

"I would say 10 to probably 14 they really enter that age where their cognitive capacity really expands and their really capable of a lot of abstract thought, and so really thinking about these things in a more deep and profound way will happen,” said Dr. Leonard.

Ross says her classmates understand the impact this walkout could have and they want to be a part of that change.

"I definitely don't think we are too young. If you're in third grade you can fully understand what we are trying to do,” she said.

Ross has the support of school administrators.

In the case of Northridge Middle School, it's the eighth graders who will be taking part in the walkout but anyone from any grade is welcome to take part if they choose.

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