(KPIX 5) — A 13-year-old boy from Marin County attended the White House press briefing Wednesday as a student journalist, firing off a question about gun safety that had Press Secretary Sarah Sanders choked up.

Benje Choucroun was at the press briefing covering the White House Sports and Fitness Day for “Time For Kids” magazine. The topic he asked about was school shootings and gun violence, and appeared to take Sanders – who appeared to hold back tears during her answer – by surprise.

Choucroun: “My school, we recently had a lockdown drill. One thing that affects mine and other students’ mental health is to worry about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school. Can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies?”

Sanders: “I think that as a kid and certainly as a parent there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe. So I’m sorry that you feel that way. This administration takes it seriously and the School Safety Commission that the president convened is meeting this week. Again an official meeting to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools and to make them feel safe and make their parents feel good about dropping them off.”

Wednesday’s exchange at the White House is being shared virally on social media. Choucroun is a student at Marin County Country Day School in Corte Madera.

Benji’s grandfather told KPIX 5 that Benji is a smart and precocious child who is always asking questions, which appeared to have him well-prepared while coolly launching into his question.

A woman who has a grandchild at the school says she hates the idea of these kids practicing school shooting drills. “I believe in being prepared, but again they’re losing some innocence and that I feel very sorry for,” said Corte Madera resident Judy Lee.

Lee said she hopes the voice of a child can lead to change, so they can stop asking such grown-up questions. “That the white house listens and maybe actually does something … I hope so,” said Lee.

Most recently, a 17-year-old suspect is accused of killing 10 people and wounded an additional 10 on May 18 at Santa Fe High School in Texas. That followed the even deadlier Parkland, Florida school shooting in February, which killed 17 people and spurred a student-led movement calling on Congress and the Trump administration to implement new gun control measures.

Comments
  1. chuckl8 says:

    “Nearly” to tears? But not quite. Maybe some thoughts and prayers?