Montgomery County students held forum to talk education, safety, and teen culture

State officials took on the panel to address hot topics

BETHESDA, Md. - The Conference of Contemporary American Teenagers showcased artwork and had a discussion panel with students in Montgomery County, as well as Maryland and Florida state officials.

There were panelists and students speaking on issues with teens in their everyday lives. 

"This was planned before the horrendous shooting in Florida and that just made it that much more urgent,” said David Lopilato, Teacher & organizer of COCAT.

Some high school students say this event gave them a chance to express themselves and get their messages across.

"A lot of times adults don’t hear our voice, and we have much more of a voice then what people assume and we want to impact policy," said Jessica Kapoor, senior at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.

Organizers also set up a pop-up museum and the exhibit had hundreds of pieces.

"I like how there is a lot of different categories and sections about certain things going on in our teen lives," said Danae Carney, junior at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.

The artwork is designed to reflect teen culture and the issues many teens face today.

One of the biggest topics discussed was school safety.

"We should also focus on making sure our schools are safer because taking away a gun may solve some issues, but it won’t take the hate out of people’s hearts that want to do harm," said Ezra Meyer, Bethesda Chevy Chase student activist.

The students say they would like to help move the exhibit across the country. Congressmen Jamie Raskin, Ted Deutch, and Senator Chris Van Hollen also spoke on the panel addressing current issues.

Organizers say they will plan another pop-up exhibit in the coming months.

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