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.
By Jeffery M. Freitas, CFT President
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 kill.
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 day.
By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President
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 citing cost.