David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February, just announced that he will take a gap year before going to college to help educate new voters before midterms.
Though he has been accepted to the University of California, Irvine, his mother Rebecca Boldrick told CNN that her son “will not be going to college this year because he’s decided to take a year off and work on the midterm elections.”
The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland killed 17 people and has since started a national debate about gun rights and the Second Amendment.
Hogg and his fellow students have been largely responsible for mobilizing young people across the country to fight for protection from school shootings, which has sparked scrutiny and mockery from Republicans and gun rights advocates.
Last month they organized the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. where they urged lawmakers to create legislation to make high-powered assault rifles illegal, as well as other firearms and background checks for gun purchases.
Students and teachers around the country have also scheduled walk-outs which have garnered media attention. Many schools set aside a period of 17 minutes of silence, a minute for each of the victims of the Parkland shooting.
As midterms approach in November, Hogg will continue to mobilize young people and encourage new voters to register and vote for candidates who will keep students safe in schools.
Hogg and other Parkland survivors have faced criticism from Republicans and gun rights advocates.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham, a gun rights advocate, mocked Hogg on Twitter for getting rejected from four different colleges. Her tweets were swiftly criticized as being insensitive and petty, but Hogg replied on Twitter: “Just got rejected from another college but that’s ok we’re already changing the world. Goodnight everyone.”
Ingraham later apologized, saying on Twitter “On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how ‘poised’ he was given the tragedy. As always he’s welcome to return to the show anytime for a productive discussion.”
A Republican candidate for Maine’s House of Representatives, Leslie Gibson, disparaged Hogg and his fellow Parkland survivor, Emma González, calling Hogg a “baldfaced liar” and González a “skinhead lesbian” on Twitter.
After facing severe criticism, Gibson ended his candidacy in Maine and apologized to both of the survivors.
H/T: The Hill