The names of the schools are etched in our minds: Columbine High,
Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas
High, Uvalde Elementary. Gunmen with grudges have struck at all
grade levels and in every corner of the country.
Most shootings take place at businesses, but news stories more
often focus on schools. Deadly shootings are, in fact, tearing up
U.S. schools at a record pace. According to Education
Week, as of October 24 there have been 40 school shootings
this year, with a toll of 34 dead and 88 injured.
I taught high school math in a picturesque Southern California
location with a view of the Pacific Ocean. On nice days, we used
to keep the doors and windows of our classrooms open. We had no
fences around our school and there were open courtyards that
welcomed gatherings of students and staff alike. Much of
that has disappeared. Now doors and windows must remain shut on
campus and chain link fences surround the beautiful campus in
case someone shows up with a weapon of war and the intent to
Last week, AFT announced support for a nationwide Enough Is
Enough campaign in partnership with March for Our Lives, AFT
affiliates, and other allies.
Educators, parents, and students will send the message that
“enough is enough” and that our communities deserve common sense
gun safety laws now. The union also will be partnering with
Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor and activist David
Hogg in the lead up to the nationwide March for Our Lives
events on this Saturday, June 11.
A.J. Frazier is a familiar face around San Francisco’s Lowell
High School. Frazier has helped guard the campus for the last 15
years, after patrolling Mission High for 15 years.
Few people knew about the pain the outgoing ex-Marine carried
inside — until he shared it at a recent rally in Santa Ana’s
Centennial Park responding to the deadly shooting at Florida’s
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
Through speeches, chants and signs, the crowd of thousands at the
March for Our Lives in Santa Ana made it clear what they wanted:
common-sense gun control.
At the rally organized in response to the shootings that killed
17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,
students, teachers, and community members, along with Lt. Gov.
Gavin Newsom, spoke to the crowd, talking about people they loved
who had been shot, how they didn’t want to be afraid to go to
school, and how the United States has more than 90 gun murders a
Another week, another mass shooting, more condolences from
elected officials…and nothing gets done. As of this writing, we
have had 19 shootings of some sort on campus this year, and we
are likely to have another before this article gets published.
In April 2013, a few months after the shootings at Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six
adult staff members, the board of California State Teachers’
Retirement System voted to divest from firms making weapons that
are illegal to own in California. More than two years later, that
hasn’t happened, and Joshua Pechthalt, president of the CFT,
wants to make sure it does. Soon.
Nothing inspires fear like the thought of a gunman on a rampage.
There have been 115 “active shooter” incidents reported across
the United States since July 2012 causing the tragic loss of 85
lives and hundreds of injuries.
Several of the deadliest incidents have been on campus. In June,
a heavily armed gunman killed three people in the neighborhood
surrounding Santa Monica College, then claimed three more victims
on campus, including a custodian and his daughter.
CFT is focused on campus safety as it advances legislation
and finalizes resolutions on gun control.
Retrofit door locks
Doors that lock from the inside have been mandatory on new school
construction since CFT-sponsored AB 211 became law in 2010, but
some districts have resisted retrofitting existing buildings