AFT President Randi Weingarten and Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence Co-Founder Abbey Clements Join Educators, Families and Survivors in Marking Somber 10-Year Anniversary of Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary
WASHINGTON—On the 10th anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., AFT President Randi Weingarten and Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence co-Founder Abbey Clements, a survivor of the Sandy Hook shooting, issued the following statement:
“In the decade since that horrific day in Newtown, a movement in the name of lives shattered by gun violence was born. Today, we recommit to fight another day in honor of everyone who has been hurt by gun violence, particularly those 20 precious children and six educators whose lives were heinously and brutally taken.
“While we have made some progress in states and, this summer, nationally—thanks to President Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Murphy and former Rep. Gabby Giffords—with the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the threat gun violence poses to our national well-being is staggering. The very spaces we are meant to feel safest, whether it’s our schools, our places of worship, grocery stores, movie theaters, night clubs, concert halls or our streets, can become unsafe in an instant because of gun violence:
- According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the 2021-22 academic year saw more gunfire on school grounds than any school year in a decade—193 incidents in total.
- The U.S. has had 2,032 school shootings since 1970, and these numbers are increasing: 948 school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens. One in 10 gun death victims are age 19 or younger.
- But these incidents don’t just happen in schools, they happen on our streets and in our communities too: According to the New England Journal of Medicine, each day, 12 children die from gun violence in America and another 32 are shot and injured. More than 100 Americans die every day from gun violence.
“We all know the facts: School-based violence is almost always planned ahead of time. There are, in many cases, warning signs, where educators, school staff, law enforcement or others might have intervened. And too often, shooters have access to weapons of war and high-capacity magazines that military experts and veterans will tell you have no place in the civilian world.
“Even responsible gun owners agree: We can, and we must, continue to do more to prevent these unspeakable tragedies, including passing an assault weapons ban and continuing to strengthen ‘red flag,’ background check and safe storage laws nationwide.
“Today we recommit to that effort, and to helping survivors like Abbey Clements have hope for the future, by doing all we can to ensure every school is safe and welcoming.”
“As we hold all who have been affected by the Newtown tragedy in our hearts on this 10-year mark, we stand with every victim and survivor of gun violence in resolve to end this public health crisis. We envision a future where all are thriving in safe schools and communities.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.