However, as a leader in Georgia’s third largest school district, I am floored that we are still having these discussions after shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Santa Fe High and so many other schools. Have we learned nothing from the 169 deaths in mass school shootings since 1999?
When will you finally act to reduce the likelihood that mass shootings in our schools happen in the first place?
At a recent Board of Education retreat, the district’s school police discussed the security needs they wanted addressed. They asked for more officers, more bomb and firearm sniffing dogs, and metal detectors. Naturally, I want to do everything I can to keep our kids safe. At the same time, I can’t help but ask: Why are we expecting school districts to spend funds earmarked for education on active shooter defenses when our legislators refuse to implement common sense proposals such as universal background checks and red flag laws?
Lawmakers, 90% of Americans demand universal background checks. This is not a partisan issue. Our children and staff should not be asked to spend instructional time preparing for gun violence when you refuse to help us. Why are we debating whether students should be forced through metal detectors, whether teachers should arm themselves, and whether educators should divert classroom time training for active shooter scenarios when you do nothing to prevent those most at risk for perpetrating gun violence from having immediate access to powerful semiautomatic weapons?
Do we really want to live in a state where an 18-year-old cannot legally buy beer but the same teenager can lawfully purchase an AR-15?
Educators’ time should be focused on education. But we can only do our jobs when you do yours. It’s past time for you to do so.