Posted in: School Safety
Educators play key role in President’s plan to keep students safe
by Brian Washington
President Barack Obama unveiled his gun safety plan today during a ceremony at the White House, emphasizing the dire need for more school counselors and psychologists, who will play a key role in his plan for keeping our students safe from gun violence.
In attendance were four young children who have all written to him about their fears concerning school shootings.
President Obama’s plan includes 23 executive orders, which he signed following the event, and several legislative proposals that need approval from Congress aimed at what he calls our first task as a society—keeping our students and children safe.
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The plan was born out of the task force chaired by Vice President Joe Biden following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty children and six educators were killed.
President Obama wants to use federal aid to hire more school counselors and psychologists to help with bully prevention efforts and bolster mental health services in schools. He’s also authorized several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security, to create model emergency response plans for schools as well as colleges and universities. Other parts of the plan include a proposed congressional ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines and tougher background checks for those purchasing guns.
“Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every single senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” said the President.
Many of the proposals and executive orders fall in line with gun safety recommendations to federal lawmakers from the 3 million teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty that make up the National Education Association and the results of a nationwide poll of educators, who overwhelmingly rejected the idea of putting more guns in schools.
Those sentiments were also echoed today in a statement from Dennis Van Roekel, a math teacher from Arizona and president of the NEA.
“The idea of arming teachers as some had suggested was rightly and soundly rejected by the president’s task force,” said Van Roekel. “We especially welcome the president’s comprehensive approach by allowing school districts the option to design and implement appropriate measures to make schools safer and protect their students.”
Van Roekel said it’s now up to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to put politics aside and pass common sense legislation to keep children safe and curb gun violence in our communities.
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