Both the NEA and AFT are opposed to guns in schools, and have responded saying the NRA proposal won't keep kids or schools safe.
NRA proposal won't keep our children or our schools safe
The National Rifle Association's "National School Shield" program, which the group announced on April 2, is a cruel hoax that will fail to keep our children and schools safe, AFT president Randi Weingarten says.
"It is simply designed to assist gun manufacturers flood the nation and our schools with more guns and large magazine clips, which will simply lead to more violence," she says.
"The NRA is trying to distract the American people from the real, serious gun problem we face in America. Adam Lanza broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School and fired 155 bullets into innocent children and educators in less than five minutes. That America can’t do something to prevent future mass shootings with this kind of weaponry and ammunition is unacceptable and outrageous. The NRA proposal will do nothing to stop another gunman with similar weapons and munitions from shattering the safe sanctuary of our schools.
"If we are serious about protecting our children and our communities, Congress must reject the NRA’s dangerous posturing and follow the lead of the Connecticut Legislature in enacting bipartisan, commonsense gun safety legislation, including comprehensive background checks, and a ban on large magazine clips and military assault weapons. These reforms would strike at the heart of America’s gun violence epidemic.
"Schools must be safe, nurturing learning environments for our students, which is why we are opposed to proposals to arm educators or turn our schools into armed fortresses. Safety personnel and safety plans have their place in schools, but we must leave those decisions to the people who know our schools best—not to those acting as a proxy for gun manufacturers. Ironically, the NRA proposes extensive background checks for the people they want to guard our schools, but opposes those same background checks for anyone else.
"How many children have to be gunned down before Congress summons the political will to act?" [AFT press release]
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: NRA plan ignores most sensible solutions: NRA plan ignores what works to keep students and schools safe
WASHINGTON—NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement in response to the National Rifle Association’s National School Shield Emergency Response Program to put more guns on school grounds:
“The senseless tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and all those before it, should force lawmakers and communities to come together to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn in safe environments. We are disappointed that the NRA leadership has chosen not to focus on common sense gun violence prevention measures that must be part of a comprehensive plan to help ensure the safety of our 50 million students.
“We need to have a laser sharp focus on measures that are truly preventive—including greater access to mental health services, increased infrastructure to support facility improvement, and comprehensive training and programs to address issues, like bullying. Mitigation and prevention, along with common sense laws to prevent gun violence, have to be a part of the plan if we are going to truly help ensure safe learning environments for the nation’s students. NEA is leading the way with our ‘Bully Free’ campaign, which was designed by educators to put more caring adults into the lives of bullied students and prevent tragedies before they occur.
“We are deeply concerned about increasing the presence of guns on school grounds, which has never proven to be a deterrent. A national poll found that educators overwhelmingly support stronger laws to prevent gun violence, rejecting the NRA leaders' idea of putting more guns in schools by arming school employees. Most Americans share these views—parents do not want their five-year-olds to have to walk past someone with a gun to reach their kindergarten class. Armed guards at Columbine and Virginia Tech were unable to prevent those tragedies, however a more robust mental health program and background checks might have made the difference.
“We must move quickly to prevent another senseless tragedy, and Americans are demanding swift action. We urge our elected leaders to put the lives of America's students ahead of politics, shelve this ill-conceived approach and join the rest of the nation as we call on Congress to pass a real plan that will keep our students safe."
For full results of the poll, please click here.
Now, more than ever, we need to work together to come up with common-sense solutions that will prevent gun violence, not react to it, and will help keep our students and their learning environments safe. We have to ask ourselves if armed guards – including armed volunteers -- and bulletproof backpacks will help students through the school day safely or if the real solutions are much more comprehensive and proactive instead of reactive. Simply recall the horror and tragedies of Columbine and Virginia Tech. Armed guards on site don’t prevent the school shootings. Parents do not want their children's schools turned into fortresses or prisons. They do not want 5-year-olds walking past a man with a gun just to get to their kindergarten class.
NEA supports a three-pronged approach to ensure safe and secure learning environments and help prevent gun violence.