This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reposted with permission. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
As America struggles to recover from the recent school shootings in Parkland, Florida, where 17 lives were tragically and unexpectedly cut short, we find ourselves embroiled in the same responses that surface after all mass shootings. Vigils, memorials, and protests abound across our nation to try to make sense of these unfathomable events and to demand an end to this violence; and there are reiterated cries for stricter gun laws.
On behalf of members and the AACTE Board of Directors, President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement March 8 regarding the Association’s position on school safety:
“It is imperative to protect the safety of teachers and students in the classroom, as it is a fundamental right for children to go to school and learn and for teachers to teach without fear; the sanctity of the classroom must be preserved. Since Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been 239 school shootings; 438 people have been shot and 138 killed. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and its students’ advocacy have reinvigorated an urgency in the national discourse to ensure safe learning environments across America.
(February 23, 2018, Washington, D.C.) – Lynn M. Gangone, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), today issued the following statement regarding the school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, a week ago and the nation-wide conversations that have occurred since the incident:
“AACTE would like to express its deepest sympathy for the teachers, students, parents and community of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who mourn the loss of family and friends victimized by the school shooting on February 14, 2018. Schools are the nuclei of local communities and the preparatory grounds where future leaders are educated and shaped to inform and engage in our democracy. Preserving the safety and sanctity of the classroom is critical for teachers and students to effectively build trust, respect and care in order for all children to learn.