NEA, Mayors Against Illegal Guns "Demand a Plan"
NEA is working with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to help stop more tragedies from occurring. It is clear from the National Rifle Association’s press conference December 21, in which NRA called for more guns in America, that every American needs to pressure lawmakers to develop a plan.
After the NRA press conference, math teacher and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said:
Our duty to every child in our care is to provide safe and secure public schools. That is the vow we take as educators. It is shocking that following this tragedy, the National Rifle Association has called for more guns in our schools and avoided talking about commonsense measures to prevent guns from getting in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place. Their delusional assumption that everything other than guns contribute to these tragedies reflects just how out of touch the NRA has become. Their proposal misses the fact that in many schools across the country, we have school resource officers and yet tragic incidents like Newtown, Chardon, Columbine, Paducah, and Jonesboro still have occurred.
The solution to this problem requires a two-pronged approach: real preventative measures and commonsense gun legislation. We must dramatically expand our investment in mental health services. Proper diagnosis can and often starts in our schools, yet we continue to cut funding for school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists. States have cut at least $4.35 billion in public mental health spending from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. It is well past time to reverse this trend and ensure that these services are available and accessible to those who need our support. We must also continue to do more to prevent bullying in our schools, an epidemic that can often precede violence.
Greater access to mental health services, bullying prevention, and meaningful action on gun control—this is where we need to focus our efforts, not on staggeringly misguided ideas about filling our schools with firearms. Lawmakers at every level of government should dismiss this dangerous idea and instead focus on measures that will create the safe and supportive learning environments our children deserve.
In honor of every educator who has put themselves between a bullet and their students and in honor of every young life that has been tragically lost, take action and Demand A Plan.
MTA President Paul Toner's response to the NRA
MTA's Storify of resources for educators and parents