Some call this the gun violence generation. Many of today’s youth have grown up in the shadow of mass shootings, including at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary, and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Active shooter drills are commonly practiced, starting in elementary school, and can cause a trauma of its own. Educators are increasingly expected to transform from nurturers to first responders at a moment’s notice—having to react and decide the best ways to protect their students based on the circumstances.
While mass school shootings are far too common, the problem with gun violence in America extends beyond school grounds. It affects the lives of our students far too often, and it disproportionately affects Black and brown students most. Just as students can’t learn if they feel unsafe, they also can’t learn if they are dealing with trauma from incidents that happen outside school grounds or are worried about how to get home safely.
The solution to keep students and educators safe is not to arm teachers, but rather to limit access to guns in the first place, by providing universal background checks, banning assault-style weapons, passing red flag laws, and other legislation.
The National Education Association remains dedicated to keeping our students and educators safe and working with coalition partners to end gun violence in our schools and in our communities.