Teachers Support Commonsense Gun Violence Prevention Measures
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Michelle Hudgins
April 2, 2013
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: NRA plan ignores most sensible solutions
NRA plan ignores what works to keep students and schools safe
WASHINGTON—NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement in response to the National Rifle Association’s National School Shield Emergency Response Program to put more guns on school grounds:
“The senseless tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and all those before it, should force lawmakers and communities to come together to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn in safe environments. We are disappointed that the NRA leadership has chosen not to focus on common sense gun violence prevention measures that must be part of a comprehensive plan to help ensure the safety of our 50 million students.
“We need to have a laser sharp focus on measures that are truly preventive—including greater access to mental health services, increased infrastructure to support facility improvement, and comprehensive training and programs to address issues, like bullying. Mitigation and prevention, along with common sense laws to prevent gun violence, have to be a part of the plan if we are going to truly help ensure safe learning environments for the nation’s students. NEA is leading the way with our ‘Bully Free’ campaign, which was designed by educators to put more caring adults into the lives of bullied students and prevent tragedies before they occur.
“We are deeply concerned about increasing the presence of guns on school grounds, which has never proven to be a deterrent. A national poll found that educators overwhelmingly support stronger laws to prevent gun violence, rejecting the NRA leaders' idea of putting more guns in schools by arming school employees. Most Americans share these views—parents do not want their five-year-olds to have to walk past someone with a gun to reach their kindergarten class. Armed guards at Columbine and Virginia Tech were unable to prevent those tragedies, however a more robust mental health program and background checks might have made the difference.
“We must move quickly to prevent another senseless tragedy, and Americans are demanding swift action. We urge our elected leaders to put the lives of America's students ahead of politics, shelve this ill-conceived approach and join the rest of the nation as we call on Congress to pass a real plan that will keep our students safe."
For full results of the poll, please click here.
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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.
FOR RELEASE: April 2, 2013
CONTACT: Marcus Mrowka
NRA Proposal Will Fail to Keep Our Children and Schools Safe
Washington—AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement in response to today's NRA announcement.
"Today's NRA proposal is a cruel hoax that will fail to keep our children and schools safe. It is simply designed to assist gun manufacturers flood the nation and our schools with more guns and large magazine clips, which will simply lead to more violence.
"The NRA is trying to distract the American people from the real, serious gun problem we face in America. Adam Lanza broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School and fired 155 bullets into innocent children and educators in less than five minutes. That America can't do something to prevent future mass shootings with this kind of weaponry and ammunition is unacceptable and outrageous. The NRA proposal will do nothing to stop another gunman with similar weapons and munitions from shattering the safe sanctuary of our schools.
"If we are serious about protecting our children and our communities, Congress must reject the NRA's dangerous posturing and follow the lead of the Connecticut Legislature in enacting bipartisan, commonsense gun safety legislation, including comprehensive background checks, and a ban on large magazine clips and military assault weapons. These reforms would strike at the heart of America's gun violence epidemic.
"Schools must be safe, nurturing learning environments for our students, which is why we are opposed to proposals to arm educators or turn our schools into armed fortresses. Safety personnel and safety plans have their place in schools, but we must leave those decisions to the people who know our schools best—not to those acting as a proxy for gun manufacturers. Ironically, the NRA proposes extensive background checks for the people they want to guard our schools, but opposes those same background checks for anyone else.
"How many children have to be gunned down before Congress summons the political will to act?"
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: http://twitter.com/rweingarten
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.