VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: 'February 21, 2018'

 Senior Ben Stoll writes about his personal experience with school violence this past February at Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Kassidy Mannings, Essex Junction, Vermont
Senior Ben Stoll writes about his personal experience with school violence this past February at Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans.


    On February 21, 2018 at approximately 11:30 hours, administration at BFA St. Albans were notified of an anonymous threat made at the school via a note.  The threat was related to a shooting that was to occur that afternoon so the school immediately went into ‘secure the building’ mode.  Officers responded and along with BFA staff. Students were sent home early.  There was no active danger located at the school and officers were on scene as students left.  The school was cleared by SAPD officers. Officers stood by at both St. Albans City and Town Elementary Schools as a precaution.  
    St. Albans Police are still investigating the source of the threat that was made.

– St. Albans Police Department

I remember in 2010, the Vancouver Winter Olympics aired.

My fourth-grade class was a beehive, buzzing in excitement and working relentlessly on Olympic-themed workpackets.

It was in this time of countries competing with one another that I fell in love with the American flag.

I remember the one I drew in class that day, made of construction paper and crayon.

I was thrilled when America won events, and was proud to live under our nation’s flag.
Today, the flag represents something a little different.

The Reds represent the blood flowing down school hallways and past lockers, during now common school shootings.

The Blues represent the bruises of those who beg for stricter gun laws – not to revoke the Second Amendment, but to tweak it and reform it to make it protect the governed.

We are beaten down because of it.

And the Whites represents the skin, of the politicians and corporation owners that make it all possible.

“Is this the new normal?”

A freshman on my sports team asked me that, tears flowing down her tense face.

I pulled her close, my heart hardened with pain and fury.


No, it will not be.

We are past the time where we sit idly, crossing our fingers and hoping that the problem will go away by itself.

The best way and only way to stop this is to start acting.

Right now.

Write a letter to your congressional representative, and beg them to do their job and represent you.

Do not fall silent, until parents can feel safe sending their children to school, and kids can stop worrying that the next school lockdown will not be a drill.

If you want to help, March 14, 2018 is a walkout.

Students will pour out of their morning classrooms from 10:00 to 10:17 to flood the streets in a wave of orange support.

We will stand for a single minute, for each victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and send a message to congress:

Guns are meant to kill.

Guns need to be locked down.

Guns need to be kept out of the hands of the dangerous.

So mark your calendars.

Tie orange armbands around your sleeves.

That is a start.

The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections and see visual art and photography from Vermont's young writers and artists. The project is a collaboration organized by Susan Reid at the Young Writers Project. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio.


Related Content