Last Sunday, Andrew Schneidawind started the hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting, which expresses the concerns that both teachers and students are experiencing about being potential targets of school shootings.
Schneidawind, a freshman at College of Mary Washington who studies digital media and communications, used his Twitter platform to continue the conversation about gun-violence prevention to show politicians how it affects their constituents daily.
He started the hashtag by posting his response under the Twitter handle @SoldierSchnyd. He tweeted, “#Ifidieinaschoolshooting I will never be able to finish my animated TV series, I’ll never be able to see my sister again, and I will have to become a martyr. #NeverAgain”
According to Teen Vogue, the #IfIDieinaSchoolShooting hashtag has been retweeted over 50,000 times on Twitter, gaining traction after the recent Santa Fe shooting. Teen Vogue interviewed Schneidawin, discussing why he started the hashtag, what he hopes to do with it and how the tagline will keep the conversation going.
He noted in the interview that he was 12 years old during the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 26 teachers and first grade students were killed. He thought Sandy Hook would be the turning point for gun-violence prevention.
He told Teen Vogue that after the Parkland shooting, he cried for four hours straight, and that his sadness turned into anger and became a critical point for him to take action.
Tweeting under the hashtag, students and teachers gave their loved ones instructions about what to do with their bodies and how to send message to politicians calling for gun-violence prevention.
As a teacher, @freyasvalkries wrote, “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting I think about it every day. If I can carry enough of my special needs kids to safety or lock the door fast enough. If I die put my body on the steps of Congress. Let them have the blood on their hands.”
@Empaul50 tweeted, “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting it’s because I will be a human shield over my students before I see any of them not get a chance to live past 8 years old.”
A student under the handle, @kaykeating tweeted, “#IfIDieInASchoolShooting politicize my death, send my body to the White House, turn my funeral into a protest and let everyone know that I was never able to graduate high school, attend college or continue living my life due to politicians refusing to pass stricter gun laws!”
Another student, @idioticjenna, tweeted,
Schneidawind hopes to mail the tweets to politicians, such as Paul Ryan, who receive funding from the NRA or who resist common sense gun policies, such as universal background checks. He wants to make politicians feel uncomfortable, and he hopes that their discomfort will turn into action, like it did for him.