School Shootings: A High School Student's Powerful Response

OSHKOSH, Wis. - The calender continues to turn at Oshkosh North High School.

Day after day, students are dealing with tests, grades, and maybe thoughts of college.

Junior Brock Doemel's concerns are for his classmates - the safety of his friends..

"They don't want to walk in this building and risk their life every day," Doemel said.

That's not a criticism of his school, but it's a reaction to tragedy at another. The memory of a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is still vivid.

"Very scary," Doemel said. "I think we realized for whatever reason that this was a real threat for us, and we wanted to do whatever we could to make sure this doesn't happen at Oshkosh North. Parkland I really think was a catalyst that brought students out of the woodwork."

The massacre in Florida turned into a national movement, with students leading the way in their call for stricter gun laws, saying enough is enough.

"That's what i think makes parkland different," Doemel said. "I'm thinking maybe if students can keep the reigns and we keep this in the national conversation using our voices as students, we can really see some change finally."

Earlier this year, Doemel formed a local chapter of the group Students Against School Shootings. He led a walkout that about 200 students joined. Back at home, Doemel's parents see their high school son quickly maturing.

"I'm so very proud of him," Doemel's mom, Teresa, said. "He's always been a leader."

Teresa is cheering him on, hoping no other mothers have to face what happened in Parkland.

"My heart just aches for those families and for those kids and teachers and staff members, the whole community," she said.

Teresa works in the Oshkosh School District and in the same building her daughter goes to school.

"When people will ring our bell to come into school, I'm the first person to check the camera and look, and i think about it (Parkland) almost every time," she said. "It's kind of the scary reality."

Her son is trying to change the reality. Doemel's efforts are moving out of the classroom as well. Just a few weeks ago, he led a march through downtown Oshkosh. Students called for more funding for mental health research to find the causes of violence and ways to prevent it. Students also pushed for stronger gun background checks.

Teresa Doemel said it's led to some interesting family discussions. Brock's dad is an on and off member of the NRA.

"I think my gun rights are important," Michael Doemel said. "What's going on with this country and why these things happen, I can't answer that. But Brock as a person is compassionate about it, and I certainly don't disagree with anything he's doing."

Not with this kind of effort and leadership.

"I'm very proud of him, and it's amazing to see the things he does that he believes in," Michael said.

Doemel's parents said that Brock's efforts aren't always easy. His mom said there's already been some backlash, but it's not going to stop this student from trying to keep his classmates out of harms way.

"They're going to keep speaking out because they know that we're in danger if we don't take action," Doemel said. "That's why i think this is going to stay in the conversation."

Officials at the Oshkosh Area School District said they work closely with police to continually review and update emergency response protocols, and the sides meet regularly to help ensure that the district is prepared in an emergency situation. Officials said incoming grant money from the state will further enhance security initiatives at every building within the district.

Print this article Back to Top