WASHINGTON - Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association are calling on lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby and take immediate action to finally start protecting our schools from gun violence by implementing strategies that are proven to help improve school safety. The organizations today released a report that includes new data detailing gun violence in American schools, and provides clear guidance for lawmakers to support policies that have proven to be effective at preventing gun violence and supporting safe and healthy learning environments.
Gun violence in schools is a complex issue, and the report provides a clear roadmap for how to tackle the problem from multiple angles, outlining strategies proven to help improve school safety, including:
- Policies proven to help keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them in the first place, such as responsible firearm storage laws, laws that raise the age to purchase semiautomatic firearms and requiring background checks on all gun sales;
- Red Flag laws, which allow families and law enforcement to intervene and temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns when there are clear warning signs they pose a threat to themselves or others;
- Improving the physical security of schools with proven tactics like installing internal locks and limiting the number of entry points and who can enter schools;
- Supporting the health of students by creating safe and equitable schools and by providing more counselors to help increase mental health services and social emotional support in schools; and
- Intervention strategies that can be implemented by school districts, including threat assessment programs that train educators how to safely and effectively intervene when there are signs that a student is in crisis or poses a risk.
“We can’t expect America’s students to learn and thrive if they don’t feel safe — and we can’t expect them to feel safe if we aren’t doing everything humanly possible to prevent school shootings,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s time for lawmakers to support school violence solutions that are grounded in proven interventions — not political calculations.”
“When the safety of our kids is at stake, we must consider every possible solution to gun violence in schools,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “That means focusing on the approaches that are proven most effective: providing schools the necessary staff and resources to address students’ mental health needs; empowering educators and law enforcement to intervene when students show signs they could be a danger; and keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place. If other countries have solved these problems, so can the United States. But we have to want to listen to law enforcement, educators, parents and students, rather than the gun manufacturers and their allies. This report offers important new data about the horrific school shootings that have plagued our communities, and details interventions with real track records we can do right now—including safer firearm storage laws, stronger background check requirements, and basic school security upgrades to help make schools safer.”
“There is nothing more important than protecting children, and providing every child safe, nurturing environments for learning is vital to upholding that promise,” said Becky Pringle, Vice President of the National Education Association. “Gun violence haunts far too many communities and has infiltrated far too many schools. Thoughts and prayers simply aren’t enough to keep our students safe. We must do better. This report sheds light on the stark realities around school shootings. Lawmakers can no longer sit on the sidelines as children die. They must find the courage to act now to provide common sense solutions to keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators.”
The report also provides a comprehensive overview of what gun violence in American schools looks like, exploring key statistics such as:
- Since 2013, there have been at least 405 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 109 deaths and 219 injuries.
- The majority of incidents of gun violence in K through 12 schools – 56 percent – are homicides, assaults and mass shootings. Since 2013, these incidents have resulted in at least 73 deaths and 174 non-fatal gunshot injuries.
- Approximately 20 percent of gunfire incidents in k through 12 schools were unintentional, resulting in at least one death and 32 non-fatal gunshot injuries.
About Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund seeks to improve our understanding of the causes of gun violence and the means to reduce it – by conducting groundbreaking original research, developing evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge to the American public. Learn more at www.EverytownResearch.org.
About the National Education Association
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.