Palmetto Ridge High School student plans rally against violence

Palmetto Ridge High School students and parents have one thing in common with the Parkland Community — they want change.

Benjamin Mendoza, 18, is accused of bringing a knife to school and threatening his classmates at PRHS. Mendoza was arrested Monday and faces charges of possession of a weapon on school grounds and disruption of a school function.

Tracie, whose last name will not be released per her request, is a mother of two kids who attend PRHS.

“The school knew days before he was arrested … he was allowed to stay in the school while he was being investigated. On that same day, I was telling my daughter she was safe,” Tracie said.

Like Tracie, PRHS junior Kaitlyn Sokolich is planning to use her voice to make sure students feel safe.

Sokolich is planning a rally on Wednesday to honor the 17 lives lost at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida after a shooting.

“I’m hoping to inspire people to get out there and know that they are a fresh face of change, that they can motivate and inspire people to get their message out there,” Sokolich said.

Two of the victims were friends of Sokolich.

“I was completely devastated, like I was crying all night, I was angry, I was in denial,” Sokolich said. “I kind of don’t really know how to process it and process how someone could wake up in the morning, take a gun and kill innocent kids.”

While Tracie is battling a terminal illness, she fully supports Sokolich’s efforts to rally against violence.

“It is my mission to make this world as wonderful of a place as I can before I’m not here anymore,” Tracie said.

The rally will be held in the courtyard at lunchtime Wednesday, according to Sokolich, who also plans to march with the Parkland students in March.

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