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Teachers Unions: Educators ‘Overwhelmingly Reject’ Idea of Arming School Staff

February 24, 2018


In a “listening session” held at the White House on February 21 with survivors of several recent school shootings, President Donald Trump proposed to arm teachers and school staff in an attempt to prevent further mass shootings.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association (NEA), said in response:

“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.

“We owe it to the students and school personnel, who’ve lost their lives at schools and on campuses across the country, to work together so that we can thoughtfully and carefully develop common sense solutions that really will save lives.”

The National Education Association represents 3 million educators who work in America’s public schools and on college campuses.


At a meeting of its executive council on February 21, the American Federation of Teachers passed a wide-ranging resolution condemning gun violence and calls to arm teachers, while urging action to protect children and educators from gun violence. AFT President Randi Weingarten said:

 “It’s time for politicians to value children over the gun lobby. AFT members will not rest until we prevent military-style weapons from getting into the hands of people who want to massacre children and educators. And if our current elected officials won’t change the laws to protect our kids and create safe schools, we’ll change who gets elected in November.

 “I am in awe of the students who are leading right now-and their educators. These are kids who sheltered in closets, who lost their friends, who wrote texts to their families thinking they had one last opportunity to say they loved them, who took a bullet for each other, or who witnessed a killing field. The students, supported by their teachers, are speaking out the loudest, organizing on social media and in their schools, and they are determined to turn this moment into a movement.

 “I am sickened by those doing the bidding of the gun lobby, and those like President Trump and Betsy DeVos who want an arms race and to turn schools into militarized fortresses by arming teachers. Anyone who wants guns in schools has no understanding of what goes on inside them - or worse, doesn’t care. And how dare anyone, especially the president’s son, endorse the sick online attacks on the students of Stoneman Douglas? These are kids who experienced huge trauma and are fighting for their lives, and the lives of others.

 “Today, our union rededicated ourselves to doing everything we can to protect kids and educators and prevent gun violence in our schools. We support every action being organized. We will be with you in the streets, in our statehouses, in Washington and at the ballot box. We are joining with teachers, students, parents and communities for a national day of action on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, to stop gun violence in our schools. We are coming together with those who learn in, teach in, send their kids to and care about public schools, to take a stand.”

 The full AFT resolution can be read here.

Source: National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers

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