The following statement was issued today by MTA President Merrie Najimy:
The deep anguish brought on by the massacre at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is matched only by the outrage growing from the fact that we as a nation are failing to protect our students and educators in the buildings that should be among the safest places in any community.
There are no excuses – and no “inalienable rights” – that can justify the deaths of 19 children who were in their fourth-grade classroom or the murder of the two educators also killed during yesterday’s carnage.
Our nation needs to take bold and immediate action to control the flow of firearms in our society.
The 18-year-old who law enforcement authorities say was responsible for the shooting in Uvalde legally purchased two firearms. The U.S. Senate, doing the bidding of the very gun lobbyists meeting this week in Houston, has blocked attempts to expand the background check system and take other reasonable steps. The right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be on the verge of further weakening gun laws across the country, including those on the books in states such as Massachusetts.
Beyond changing laws, we need to change priorities in this country. Most of the public schools in the United States do not have an adequate number of counselors or nurses. Most of our public schools do not have adequate funding to ensure class sizes that allow educators to sufficiently build nurturing and supportive relationships with every student.
The MTA stands with educators across the nation in demanding better for our students, for our communities, and for all who dedicate their lives to the common good.
Access to quality health services and trauma support – the need for which has never been greater because of the COVID-19 pandemic – is a challenge even for those with good insurance. The demands on caregivers and educators to do more and more just to stay afloat have robbed our children of the precious time that they deserve and need with the adults in their lives.
Staying silent is not an option. Growing numb to the violence is not an option. Our union is committed to whatever collective action is necessary to help make our communities safe. The MTA stands with educators across the nation in demanding better for our students, for our communities, and for all who dedicate their lives to the common good.