High School Senior Graduates With QR Code Honoring Victims Of School Shootings

Gina Warren, an 18-year-old high school senior from Asheville, Ohio, has planned to use her graduation cap to honor the students who have been prevented from graduating due to the detriment of violent school shootings. Warren put together a list of all of the victims of school shootings ranging from the first major incident at Columbine in 1999 to the Colorado STEM school shooting on May 7, 2019. To do so, Warren accessed the list publicized by the nonprofit organization Everytown, whose goal is the end of gun violence, and linked it to a QR code generated by an online QR code maker. Warren then printed out her homemade QR code and pasted it onto the top of her graduation cap. This way, when onlookers and family members take pictures of Warren walking and posing at her graduation, they will immediately be directed to the list of students who lost their lives to gun violence.

Students Of Parkland

Warren revealed to Buzzfeed News that her inspiration for the project came after seeing the students of Parkland, Florida silently protest the National Rifle Association in 2018. For their graduation, students painted the tops of their graduation caps orange, presumably to represent the color of hunting gear, and included price tags to portray the dollar amount that each student is worth to Republican Senator Marco Rubio based on the amount of money he received from the NRA. Warren responded to this smartly articulated student action saying, “I wanted to make something just as powerful as a statement, but rather than direct it to lawmakers or the NRA, I wanted to direct it to everyone who will see it.” She also reminds those who will be directed to her list that the names she included “were just the ones killed because of a shooting that happened at a [high] school. It doesn’t include kids who won’t be able to graduate because of a shooting at a movie theater or church.”

Pushing An Agenda?

Warren’s project went viral after she shared it on her Twitter, with some users accusing Warren of trying to push a pro-gun control agenda. Yet, Warren insists that her message is simply to honor the students that were lost in school shootings. However, Warren includes a line at the bottom of her list in which she calls on viewers to protect the nation’s students and reminds them to vote — ostensibly in favor of gun control. But Warren reiterates: “I’m not telling you how you should vote or what you should think — I’m telling you there’s a problem. Whatever you think could make our country safer, you need to have a voice about it.” She further comments, “I hope anyone who sees how many names there are would think there is a problem.”

Additional Victims

List of school shooting victims

Gina Warren/Twitter

Despite the few negative reactions Warren received after sharing her project on Twitter, most of the responses have been positive with many users thanking her for honoring and remembering the victims of school shootings that they anticipated history had already forgotten. Warren is currently receiving additional names from those who have seen the project that may have been excluded from the national database. An unexpected positive response to Warren’s act of awareness-raising came from a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, Matt Deitsch, who is also one of the founding members of March for Our Lives. In a direct message, Deitsch reached out to Warren and applauded her efforts telling her she “did incredible,” and that “keeping the conversation going is how we save lives,” validating her previous assertion that continuing the conversation about gun violence was her main concern, not her personal political agenda.

Direct message from activist Matt Deitsch

Gina Warren

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