SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Saturday mornings are spent surfing the internet for Madi Roeschke, a 17-year-old senior from Saugus High School.
But for the last two weeks, a simple distraction like this is what she needed more than ever.
“I tend to make a bunch of plans or fill my day with movies or shows, just binge-watching things to take my mind off things," Roeschke said. “Once you start thinking about it, you can’t stop.”
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She is referring to a school shooting that took place at her high school. The shooting left two students dead and three injured. Roeschke and her sister, a sophomore, hid together in their classroom — texting their mom and telling her they love her.
“It’s really hard [to look at] because in those moments I honestly thought it would be the last time I would speak to my mom," Roeschke said.
But she keeps the texts on her phone as a reminder. After experiencing something she never thought was possible, Roeschke said she has had enough.
“I just think that a lot of people tend to say thoughts and prayers and then forget about it and move on," Roeschke said. "But I think we just need to focus on this and keep bringing it up, keep fighting.”
Many of her classmates have the same idea, feeling a personal responsibility to become part of the fight. She may only be 17 years old, but Roeschke said that she and her classmates are uniquely prepared to lead the charge for change.
“If a 16-year-old kid was able to take a gun to school, shoot once, have the gun jam and then still know how to fix it, shoot more kids and then himself, he knew a lot about guns," Roeschke said. "Other kids know too and we know about these issues because it happened at our schools. Just because we’re under 18 years old doesn’t mean we can’t understand what’s going on.”
For Roeschke, it starts with talking about what happened on her campus and it will continue as she turns 18 and is old enough to vote.
“Every day I think about it and I think I will for the rest of my life. Moving forward I will continue to speak about it and demand change," Roeschke said. "I don’t want people to go through this heartbreak, I don’t want kids to hear gunshots at school, I don’t want kids to die at school, I want them to learn.”