Marjory Stoneman Douglas student and #NeverAgain activist David Hogg told Axios founder Mike Allen at an event in Washington on Friday that his high school feels "like a prison" since the shooting last month, with "hundreds of police officers" patrolling the campus.
He said this is a problem because the police are racist against black students: "What I'm very concerned about is the racial disparity between white and black students. For example, black students get suspended at a rate three times higher than white students."
"When you have all these new police officers and resource officers coming into schools, what I'm worried is going to happen is we're going to increase the school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately affects students of color and lower social status," Hogg warned.
"And the other thing that is terrifying to me is, many of these students when they get into prison... They can't get a job and have to commit to a life of crime," he added. "What happens is politicians like Gov. Rick Scott are lobbied by the private prison industry, that are private prisons paid for by the government essentially to keep these people in. That's not how we're going to fix this situation."
Hogg said prison needs to be rehabilitative and not just punishment. "These are American citizens," he said. "Right now it is disgusting."
He also complained that after spring break, all Parkland students will be required to have "clear backpacks," which he said infringes on their right to self-expression and privacy.
"Many students want their privacy. There are many, for example, females in our school that when they go through their menstrual cycle, they don’t want people to see their tampons and stuff."
Hogg said going to school under such rules is "embarrassing" and feels like going to "prison."
"It’s unnecessary, it’s embarrassing for a lot of the students and it makes them feel isolated and separated from the rest of American school culture where they’re having essentially their First Amendment rights infringed upon because they can’t freely wear whatever backpack they want regardless of what it is," Hogg continued. "It has to be a clear backpack. What we should have is just more policies that make sure that these students are feeling safe and secure in their schools and not like they’re being fought against like it’s a prison."