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Teachers Union Leaders on the Anniversary of Parkland Shooting

Leaders of NEA, AFT, FEA and BTU issue joint statement


WASHINGTON - February 14, 2019 -

— The national leaders of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, along with the presidents of the state and local affiliates, the Florida Education Association and the Broward Teachers Union, respectively, issued a joint statement on the anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida:

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia: “While many high schoolers exchange valentines on February 14, the students in Parkland, Florida, will relive the trauma of running for cover and sheltering under desks as they tried to save themselves and their friends from the onslaught of gunfire one year ago. On that day, 17 students and educators lost their lives, making it the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in U.S. history.

“Sadly, the Parkland community is not alone in facing this kind of devastating loss. Thoughts and prayers simply aren’t enough to keep our students and educators safe. Politicians can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines, and the National Education Association applauds how members of the U.S. House of Representatives have begun to move legislation that actually addresses the scourge of gun violence plaguing our communities. The lives that have been lost to gun violence cannot be in vain. The time is now to create policies that make a difference and save lives.”

AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know so many of the educators, students and parents of the Stoneman Douglas community. We’ve wept, we’ve mourned, we’ve marched, we’ve lobbied, and we’ve made it clear that we will never stop fighting for the proven interventions that can make our schools safe from gun violence. Today we honor the 17 innocent children and educators murdered last year on February 14 — children whose hopes and dreams were snuffed out, and educators who sacrificed their lives shielding their students from bullets. I visited Stoneman Douglas last week, along with AFT leaders from across the country, to honor the students and educators there. The trauma is still real, and the healing is far from over. But they remain ‘MSD Strong,’ and all their unions — the AFT, the NEA, their local affiliates in Broward and statewide affiliates in Florida — remain committed to providing the support the Stoneman Douglas community needs.

“Today is also a day to remember, to mourn those who died and to show gratitude to the students, educators and parents who summoned the courage to fight this righteous fight to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. They’ve done what many of us were unable to do: expose how so many in power have prioritized the interests of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers over the safety of children, educators and schools. We stand with them today and every day to ensure our schools are safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses. We do it for the innocent children and educators lost on February 14. We do it for the countless lives lost to gun violence over the past year. We do it for every student and every educator in a classroom right now who just wants to feel safe and loved in their school. And we will never give up.”

FEA President Fedrick Ingram:
“The fight for safe, welcoming public schools in Florida is forever shaped by what happened in Parkland last year. Since then, we have come together to rebuild, and to make sure students and teachers in Florida have the tools they need to build safe sanctuaries where kids can learn free from fear of gun violence and teachers can teach math, science and the arts. Target practice should not be part of the curriculum.”

BTU President Anna Fusco:
“BTU stands with and sends our love to the teachers, staff and most importantly the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. We will continue the fight to create and maintain safe but welcoming learning environments in all schools.”

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About the National Education Association
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. Learn more at www.nea.org and follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia.

About the American Federation of Teachers
The American Federation of Teachers is a union of 1.7 million professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do. Learn more at www.aft.org and follow on Twitter at @AFTunion.

About the Florida Education Association
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with more than 140,000 members. FEA represents pre K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees. Go to https://feaweb.org/ for more information and follow on Twitter at @FloridaEA.

About the Broward Teachers Union
The Broward Teachers Union is the fifth-largest teachers union in the country. Its 12,000 members encompass teachers, education support professionals and technical support professionals who work for the Broward Public Schools. BTU also represents Pembroke Pines Charter School teachers. Find out more at www.btuonline.com and follow on Twitter at @BrowardTeachers.

Contacts:
Staci Maiers, NEA Communications
202-270-5333 cell, smaiers@nea.org
Sarah Hager
202-393-5684, shager@aft.org
Sharon Nesvig, FEA Communications
850-201-2800, sharon.nesvig@floridaea.org


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