a mother kneels to huge her daughter at drop off outside of a school

We Owe Our Kids Safe Schools

05/26/2022

Written by Leading Educators

We Owe Our Kids Safe Schools

Reflecting on the Tragedy in Uvalde, TX

Why haven’t we stopped this already?

School should be a place where childhood happens. At its best, it’s where kids discover what excites them. It’s where they make friends and where they start to become their fullest selves. All of this depends on safety. But for too long, the freedom to learn– the freedom to grow up–has been under threat.

The devastating attack in Uvalde, Texas this week showed us once again that safety is not guaranteed on American soil. Lax gun laws allowed an 18-year-old man to forcefully enter Robb Elementary School and take twenty-one precious lives in mere minutes. Two brave educators–Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia–died trying to shield their fourth graders from harm

Tragedies like this continue because our nation’s leaders have failed us. Their rhetoric stokes fear. We hear them make the same excuses about mental health, but they refuse to provide adequate resources for those who need them. And relaxed gun laws make it easy for people to legally obtain weapons of war and use them against others in our most sacred of spaces.

Every time this happens, we hear the same slogans: “Arm teachers!” “Good guys with guns can stop the bad ones!” But nothing changes. 311,000 young people have faced gun violence within their school’s walls since Columbine. This is a uniquely American problem, and we must solve it.

We Stand with Students

Sandy Hook should have been enough. Marjory Stoneman Douglas should have been enough. Lawmakers should have listened to the thousands of students who walked out of classrooms in 2018 and the more than 1 million people who joined  them to demand strict national standards for gun ownership. But political ambitions outweighed the value of lives.

When students across the country built March for Our Lives, they named three goals:

  • No more school shooting drills.
  • No more burying loved ones.
  • No more American exceptionalism in all the wrong ways.

In the wake of Uvalde, they plan to march again on June 11. We stand with them. It’s time for policymakers to finally deliver.

We Call for Change

Whether at school, in a place of worship, or while buying the week’s groceries, none of us should ever have to fear for our life. Tragedies like these are the unconscionable consequence of inaction.

Keeping our schools safe is not political; it’s common sense. This must be the last time we grieve for students and educators taken by gun violence. It has to be.

In solidarity,

Leading Educators

P.S. If you are looking for resources as an educator or to share with educators you know, we recommend these tools from LiberatED.