Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, a Montessori graduate, chose to visit Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) today to not only discuss topics related to women in government but to talk to the students of VIMSIA about the power of peaceful protest.
As the only registered school on island to participate in the National School Walkout, students asked Plaskett what Congress’ reaction had been to the March for our Lives movement and whether or not it had sparked any changes in opinions after all the demonstrations. “What you have to understand is that the March took place right before the members went away for Easter break, so we have not returned back to congress since the march happened” answered Plaskett. “What I can tell you is that I went to the one that was in Washington and I saw a lot of members there, and at that march all the young people -like yourself- had stickers on them with the year that they would be able to vote as well as people registering all the young people who were old enough to vote to be able to vote” said Plaskett. Many members of Congress who want gun laws changed made the conscious decision to not get involved, and to not let the movement be taken over by lawmakers or by old people, and in turn pollute the message. “This is a young people’s movement and for it to be effective it had to be their movement and their voice” said Plaskett. Students were urged to not get discouraged and to continue voicing their concerns with whatever means possible as change will take some time.
Plaskett released an official statement further explaining why she chose to visit VIMSIA. “Of course I have a personal affinity to the Montessori program and the way it educates young people, but also there are several things about this Montessori school that I think are very important” said Plaskett. “The first is that you really -in a private school setting- have been great about creating a diverse community that’s not just diverse ethnically but socioeconomically and I think that’s a very good model that so many of us should look at throughout this community. The second of course is that VIMSIA is one hundred percent solar which is awesome and a very good model for us to use here in the Virgin Islands” Plaskett stated.
Students were applauded by Plaskett for setting the tone and leading the way in the Virgin Islands with the National School Walkout and the issues surrounding gun violence. “What is more important than marches is what happens after a march, it’s not helpful to march and then not do anything afterwards” said Plaskett. Adding that “while you were able to voice your opinions on the issues of violence in your communities, what is going to be more important is to follow up on what you’re going to do in the communities to support those changes.” Students continue to take leadership roles with safety and environmentally friendly initiatives putting VIMSIA on the map as one of the leading schools in the territory.