Stop the Violence
When I was a student, I only worried about waking up in time to catch the bus, getting good grades, and deciding with my friends what we would do over the weekend. The idea of being shot did not cross my mind—ever.
Sadly, a spate of almost yearly school shootings has shoved the thought into the collective minds of our nation. A December 2012 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, took the lives of 20 young students and six educators who died trying to protect them. We honor the educators’ bravery and sacrifice in “Newtown Superheroes.”
Three weeks later—days before this issue of NEA Today went to press—an educator and a campus supervisor placed themselves between a gunman and students at Taft High School in Taft, California. It is said that the shooter was the target of bullying, a topic addressed in “Peer Pressure.”
These tragedies illustrate what we have known for a long time: From the teacher who works one on one with a student for as many times as it takes to help them grasp a concept, to the education support professional who purchases a winter coat for a child whose parents can’t afford one, educators care about children—a lot. And the caring doesn’t stop, even when it’s challenged by a bullet.
But we know bullets have no place in schools. That’s why NEA is helping to lead a national effort aimed at common sense gun violence prevention, with a greater emphasis on mental health and school safety and student support. As NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says, “Now, more than ever, we stand ready to speak out and mobilize to protect our students and communities from further pain and needless violence.”
In public schools throughout the country, dedicated educators put their hearts, souls, and minds on the line for public school students. Shouldn’t they be able to begin the school day knowing our nation is just as dedicated to keeping students and educators safe?