WASHINGTON — A lone gunman yesterday walked into Robb Elementary School, located in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, and killed 21 people, most of them young children. Mere hours after the senseless school shooting, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called for arming teachers. Previous polls conducted by the National Education Association showed that educators reject the preposterous position that gun violence can be reduced by bringing even more guns into schools. In 2020, NEA, alongside the American Federation of Teachers and Everytown for Gun Safety, released a report on preventing gun violence in American schools and how arming teachers is a dangerous distraction.
The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:
“Our public schools should be the safest places for students and educators, yet the gunshots from a lone shooter armed with a military-grade weapon shattered the physical safety of the school community in Uvalde, Texas. The powerful gun lobby and their allies did not waste a second after the horrific killing of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School to call for arming teachers. Bringing more guns into schools makes schools more dangerous and does nothing to shield our students and educators from gun violence. We need fewer guns in schools, not more. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards.
“We need common-sense solutions now. Schools need more mental health professionals, not pistols; teachers need more resources, not revolvers. Arming teachers makes schools more dangerous and does nothing to protect students and their families when they go off to school, shop at the grocery store, attend church services, ride the subway, or simply walk down the streets of their neighborhoods. Those lawmakers pushing to arm teachers and fortify school buildings are simply trying to distract us from their failure to prevent another mass shooting.
“Educators and parents overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Rather than arming educators with guns, we need to be giving them the tools needed to inspire their students. Rather than putting the responsibility on individual teachers, our elected leaders need to pass laws that protect children from gun violence and bring an end to senseless and preventable killings. Americans want the carnage to stop. My message to Congress: What are you waiting for?”
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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, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.