Over the last decade the killing of children in schools has become an American epidemic. That is why the words “school” and “shooting” being in the same sentence still does not even make sense to me and many others. Have Americans lost count of the number of school shootings happening? I believe many have turned a deaf ear to the tragedies. However, we should never become desensitized to the mass shootings in schools. During his campaign, Donald Trump signs said we must MAGA by draining the swamp! After several months in office, I completely agree with this statement now. I believe the students of Florida believe the same. This is why we must hold the NRA accountable for years of neglect and resistance against improving gun laws. We must also hold the President accountable to his word of draining the swamp. If we are going to MAGA, let us begin implementing gun laws that will make our schools safe again. How can we protect Americans from terrorists identified overseas when we cannot protect our children at school?
Current School Shootings: We must remember them! The victims of the recent Florida school shooting cannot be left behind and forgotten after the media hype. This time we must make change happen. Critics are stating that Florida students in D.C. who are advocating for improved gun laws and accountability are being “persuaded by adults.” I beg to differ. I believe that most Americans are tired of seeing innocent citizens gunned down in schools, churches and in the safe haven of their communities. Ordinary people matter too! It should not take the tragic loss of a dignitary or famous individual to make our country come together for needed change. Karl T. Frederick, former leader of the NRA, believed that gun control and regulation was needed. This prompts me to believe that having strong leadership of both the NRA and the United States working together to implement gun regulations and accountability can help decrease mass shootings.
Gun Regulation Works: South Korea is a great example of a country implementing strong gun regulations. This has helped to decrease crime and has resulted in little to no mass shootings. A recent article discussing The Olympics taking place in South Korea this week highlighted Americans regarding the event as having decreased security. Korea representatives provided information stating that their country has enforced highly effective gun laws and regulations. Our policy makers and leadership can make the changes need around improving gun laws in America. My hope is that it’s done before we have to endure another tragedy.
Educating the Masses: Many times stakeholders, educational advocates and even parents don’t know the areas of improvement around school safety. As legislators are reviewing and considering House Bills to pass for improving the quality of education in our country, are gun and school safety laws on the table? On this President’s Day holiday ask your local educational leaders and policy makers about adding resources to help ensure all schools are safe. Here are four areas that schools can use additional resources to improve safety.
- Creating Safe School Environments
- Bullet proof glass windows in the reception area and entry way where visitors check in
- Emergency panic buttons in more than one area of the school
- Strict polices around weapons prohibited at schools and signage
- Having a designated person(s) surveillance the grounds and parking lot
- Upgrade Surveillance Cameras
- Cameras be located at all entrance doors that are available for review in more than one area i.e. Principals office, Maintenance Director and cafeteria so that more than one area of the school can be aware of an emergency or crisis
- Cameras should be in the front and back parking lots
- Updated School Emergency Plans
- Emergency planning for active shooters, intruders or evaluations should include local county authorities to help train educational leaders
- Informing and involving parents of emergency plans
- Involving local neighbors who may live around the area of the school of emergency plans and how they might be able to help
- Educating Our Children
- Discussing the importance of school safety and non violence in and around school with students
- Creating a culture where students, faculty, staff, parents and other stakeholders feel safe
- Implementing SEL (social emotional learning) lessons to help prevent mass shootings in the mindsets of people
We must also stand with the youth of Florida who are letting the nation know that it is time for the NRA to support our policy makers around implementing effect gun regulations. Our current climate creates fear and empowers people with psychological issues to have access to guns. This must stop! Together we can make not only our schools, but communities and this country a “No Place for Hate!” zone.
Here are five ways that we all can support our students taking a stand against gun violence.
- Asking your local elected officials to support gun safety laws
- Empowering students to speak on their concerns about gun safety
- Speaking at community and city council meetings about the need for improved gun safety laws
- Starting a letter writing campaign to the President asking for improved gun safety laws
- Providing schools with resources for students to create paintings, YouTube videos, commercials, ads and displays to bring awareness to the importance of implementing regulations and accountability of gun carriers and sellers
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.