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13-year-old Grand Prairie student wins award for poem about school shootings

8th-grader Molly Chakery won second place in a nationwide Young Writers contest for the poem, which talks about the fear many students have about mass shootings.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Molly Chakery, an 8th-grader at Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy, understands the country is divided over mental health and gun control. 

But, "the truth is it's not about right or wrong. It's about the fact that this is going on. And that's wrong," she said.  

The issue moved her so much that she wrote a poem to describe the reality of mass shootings after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. in 2018.

In the poem, she talks about the fear students have while sitting in class, worried that the words "Shots fired!" might be their last.

Chakery won second place in a nationwide Young Writers contest for the poem. It is now published in a book called "Poetry Escape."

RELATED: Dale Hansen commentary: We couldn't even make it a month in Texas without another mass shooting

You can read the poem below.


"You wouldn't understand,"
I was told after sitting through
Hours and hours of school
Facts crammed inside my head
Like values in society
That, "You wouldn't understand."

What don't I understand?
I swore I understood
That my school was a target
A target of a cultural epidemic
A target of violence
That, "You wouldn't understand."

Why wouldn't I understand
That, at thirteen, my death
Was nothing more than a statistic
To politicians and law-makers
A political agenda
That, "You wouldn't understand."

Why can't you understand
That my activism is not 'just a hobby'
As bullets ricochet over my dead body
My last words might be, "Shots fired!"
But all you've fired is, "Thoughts and prayers."
That, "You wouldn't understand."

When will you understand
That you've treated a symptom
Of a disease as if the symptom
Was the disease itself
Like my mental health
That, "You wouldn't understand."

Why don't you understand
That I'm willing to take a stand,
But I guess I'm too young to understand
The hatred that coats society
Like gloss on a bullet
Or blood on a body
That, "You wouldn't understand."

I know you understand
That, with age comes knowledge
But with youth should also come
Innocence and I only knew the word
'Innocent' because it was shouted
Over my student body
"They're innocent!"
That, "You wouldn't understand."

"You'll never understand!"
Yelled the terrorist that shot
Through my best friend's body
"You wouldn't understand!"
The metal detectors and
Clear backpacks as if they were
Effectors of a million-dollar depression brand
That, "You wouldn't understand."

What can I understand?
What don't I understand?"

© Molly Grace Chakery 2019

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