We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists
We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

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Annotation: Demonstrating the growing journalistic prowess of teens directly impacted by school shootings, an anthology of school newspaper articles, journalism class writings, student broadcasts and social media op-eds recounts the day's tragedy and related fight for stricter gun control.
Genre: Government
Catalog Number: #169544
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 260, 16 unnumbered pages of plates
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-9848499-6-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2806-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-9848499-6-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2806-5
Dewey: 363.330973
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
Horn Book
A collection of reporting by the journalism students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the 2018 shooting at their school. "Extraordinary Acts" pieces highlight heroic survivors; others cover the day of the attack, the March for Our Lives movement, and life in the media spotlight. Edited by MSD teachers Falkowski and Garner, the teens' writings are insightful and moving. Includes an insert of color photos.
Kirkus Reviews
Ruminations from student journalists in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings.Edited by two MSD teachers who themselves write of their experiences on that day, the short essays focus primarily on the students' ongoing emotional states and general observations about the decidedly mixed treatment they received in the tragedy's aftermath from the press, politicians, and over social media. These are interspersed with tributes to select individuals who performed "Extraordinary Acts" and also with photos that, being nearly all uncaptioned, provide more atmosphere than information. Young grass-roots activists will find no specific reform agenda here, though several contributors do offer savvy general advice. If some of the prose is less than stellar, there are plenty of mature, thoughtful insights to compensate: "We are navigating our way through our grief, which includes guilt," writes Carly Novell. "We can live and remember, but we can't live our lives stuck on February 14." Unlike David and Lauren Hogg's #NeverAgain (2018), this is less a coherent manifesto than a chorus of individual voices feeling pain, describing learning experiences, discovering the heady power of collective action—and expressing determination that, when it comes to real change, "it didn't happen after Columbine in 1999, but it will happen now." Debut author and editor Falkowski adds eloquent arguments for the importance of high school journalism programs and independent student-run school newspapers.Scattershot but cogent and encouraging. (MSD media awards, contributor profiles) (Nonfiction. 12-18)
Publishers Weekly
Falkowski and Garner, teachers of journalism and broadcasting, respectively, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, offer gripping introductions to this compelling anthology of student writing. Falkowski writes an immediate account of the Feb. 2018 events; Garner underscores the duality of the contributors- post-tragedy lives, describing the journalism and broadcasting students whose sense of security was shattered yet who were galvanized to become -on the outside, activists, and on the inside, journalists.- Reconciling those roles and advocating for gun legislation reform and school safety are recurring themes. The students also speak about their indignation at being accused of being publicity-seeking -crisis actors- for appearing in media interviews and participating in the March for Our Lives movement. Throughout, the students express appreciation for peers and faculty who exhibited courage during the shootings, and they stress the importance of journalistic integrity. An impressive roundup of eloquent, well-reasoned, and inspiring writing. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* From the aftermath of the February 14, 2018, school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, comes this collection that stands alone as a primary source document. A few pieces from the journalism and broadcasting faculty accompany dozens of short essays and photographs by student journalists of the Eagle Eye, the high-school newspaper and student broadcasters from WMSD-TV, the school TV station. Frank and sincere, if occasionally repetitive, the student essays capture the raw aftermath of a tragedy from the closest vantage point one can find. They examine the situation from myriad angles; a recent British transplant comes at it as a so-called outsider, while those closest to the heart of the verAgain movement on Twitter examine their newfound celebrity and respond to public critiques. At the same time, it's a document about the inner workings of a high-school newspaper suddenly thrust into a spotlight far beyond what staff writers could ever have imagined. Many of the students wrestle with concerns of journalistic ethics: how to interview and write when they're too close to the subject at hand. A book like this shouldn't have to exist, and yet it does d for that reason alone, it deserves a space in all libraries.
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile: 1100L
The Events of February 14

by Melissa Falkowski, MSD journalism teacher

February 14, 2018, started almost like any other normal Valentine's Day.

In my first two periods, my creative writing students wrote love advice columns and turned famous love poems into "hate" poems--­an activity for the angsty anti-­Valentine's Day students. The day was filled with candy, balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, and a general show of love for each other. In first period, Samantha Fuentes shared chocolate-­covered strawberries from Kilwin's, where she had just started working. At the beginning of second period, we spent fifteen minutes outside for our monthly scheduled fire drill.

The rest of the day passed pretty uneventfully--­lunch, study hall, and finally newspaper class. I worked with staffers and editors on our upcoming third-­quarter issue of the newspaper and stories scheduled to post to our website. Class and the school day were almost over.

Then, at 2:21 p.m. the fire alarm sounds. The class stops what they're doing and looks to me for directions. It's not normal for the fire alarm to sound twice in one day, but not totally out of the question, especially if culinary is cooking.

"We gotta go, guys. Get your stuff," I tell them.

Some of them grumble, and some of them roll their eyes. We are annoyed and inconvenienced. Haven't we already done this today?

I grab my cell phone and my keys, grab my emergency folder, and stand at the door counting how many students leave the room--­twenty-­five total, the entire class listed on my fourth-­period roster. I want to make sure that I have them all when I get to my assigned evacuation zone. I close my already locked door and turn left, heading the fifteen feet to the double doors that will take me to the outside hallway.

The outside stairwell is crowded. I see one of our campus security monitors. I ask her what's going on.

"Someone set off firecrackers in the 1200 building," she tells me.

"Okay. Idiots," I tell her as I roll my eyes.

I turn to two other teachers to tell them.

The campus monitor calls to me. "Go back. Code Red! Code Red!"

The other teachers and I call out to the students in the hallway and the stairwell to turn around and go back. I pivot and walk quickly back to my room. As I open my door, I hear an administrator's voice come over the intercom. "Code Red," he says.

I'm the first teacher back to my hallway. I'm holding the door open as students file in. I'm yelling to kids in the hallway, "Get inside! Right now! Go anywhere. It doesn't matter where you are supposed to be."

They look confused.

Colleagues are starting to return to their classrooms and open up. One of them calls down to me and asks what's going on.

"It's a Code Red!" I yell to her.

"Are you serious?" she asks.


Two out-­of-­breath students appear on my side of the hallway. I tell them to come inside. Students at the other end of the hallway are filing into classrooms. I decide to close my door. I already feel like I've held it open for too long.

When I turn and close the door behind me, I see all my students huddled into a corner of the room. They are in the exact place we discussed a month ago after staff training about active shooter situations. I returned from the training and mapped out an area of the room that I could make invisible from the door's window by covering it halfway with paper.

I move into the corner, pull out the attendance roster from my emergency folder, and start calling names. In total I have nineteen students with me--­two who are not mine, and seventeen of my newspaper students. I'm missing eight students. As I get to the names of missing students on the roster, I tell the other students to text them and find out where they are.

They are located quickly; they're in the classroom beneath us in a closet. All eight of them are together. When they reached the bottom of the stairwell, another teacher pulled them inside.

I write down the names of the two extra students with me. Their classroom is across campus. I find out later that as their class evacuated for the fire alarm, they were told to just run. Their building is directly across from the 1200 building. They heard shots, but they say nothing about it to me or my students at the time.

One of my students asks me, "Mrs. Falkowski, are you going to turn off the lights?"

I forgot to turn off the lights. "Of course," I tell her.

I get up, turn off the lights in my room, and walk into my adjacent computer lab and turn those off, too. For the few seconds when I'm in the computer lab, I almost lose my composure. I'm shaking, and I can feel the tears coming. I take a deep breath and go back to the corner in the larger room.

It's 2:28 p.m. One student is already in the closet. She went straight there when she arrived in the room. I text my husband.

"We are in a Code Red. I'm locked in my room. With kids. I'm okay and I love you."

I text my husband again.

"I don't know what's happening. It could be the drill they said they were going to do this semester. But I don't see why they would do it at 2:30."

Now we can hear helicopters and sirens. I google Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The first link says, "Shots Fired."

I make the decision to move everyone into the closet. I pull out a cart and some things that are taking up room. I call the students over a few at a time. I tell them just to bring themselves and their phones--­no backpacks. Just people, not things. I grab my phone charger from behind my desk, and we close up the closet.

The lights are off. It's dark, hot, and crowded. We have to stand shoulder to shoulder for everyone to fit. A few students are crying in the back. I use my phone's flashlight to illuminate the closet. I'm telling the kids over and over that everything is okay. We are together and everything is going to be okay.

Excerpted from We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists by Parkland Student Journalists
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

A journalistic look at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and the fight for gun control--as told by the student reporters for the school's newspaper and TV station.

This timely and media-driven approach to the Parkland shooting, as reported by teens in the journalism and broadcasting programs and in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas newspaper, is an inside look at that tragic day and the events that followed that only they could tell.

It showcases how the teens have become media savvy and the skills they have learned and honed--harnessing social media, speaking to the press, and writing effective op-eds. Students will also share specific insight into what it has been like being approached by the press and how that has informed the way they interview their own subjects.

"One thing is clear: The Parkland students are smart, media savvy, and here to fight for common sense gun laws." --Hello Giggles

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