Students, parents say Parkland survivor speech too political for school

HOLLISTON, Mass. – Students and parents in Holliston say a speech given Friday by school shooting survivor and activist David Hogg was too political for a school setting.

Hogg, who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., last year, spoke to students at Holliston High School Friday morning. The speech entitled, “Engage in the Change: Our Generation Must Own Democracy,” was expected to be an apolitical discussion, focusing on youth engagement.

“Thank you all for being here to listen to this important message that in reality is not a partisan issue,” Hogg said before the students in a video filmed by Holliston Cable Access Television. “Because what we advocate for – what our generation advocates for – is simply to stop dying. And if we think that’s a partisan issue, we’ve got a bigger issue in America.”

But 16-year-old sophomore Daniel Biundo, who was sitting with his classmates in the auditorium, told Boston 25 News Monday the second half of the speech took a turn.

“It was billed as kind of a speech on civic engagement and trying to get the youth active,” Biundo said. “This wasn’t a discussion. This was a one-sided political speech, and that’s where the problem for me lies.”

Biundo, who said he admires Hogg and agrees with what he advocates for, said the speech became inappropriate for school. He said Hogg strayed from youth engagement, bashed the National Rifle Association, pushed a political agenda not only involving gun control, but also immigration and made references to a connection between the opioid crisis and white privilege.

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