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NTC Statement on School Violence

NTC Statement on School Violence
By Liam Goldrick and Wendy Baron

At a time of unspeakable tragedy and violence, our nation is witnessing a historic outpouring of student leadership. Students from across America are speaking up, challenging the status quo, and insisting our political leaders take actions that will reduce gun violence.

Recent public statements by students reveal that they are worried about the easy access to guns and believe that arming teachers is not the answer to creating safe schools.

Educators, too, are taking a strong stand against arming them as a solution to larger social and political issues. Through the #armmewith movement, teachers are challenging the sanity of paying stipends to armed educators, when they know that additional resources are desperately needed to “arm teachers” with resources, materials, and time to teach effectively every day! Schools also need funding for additional school counselors and training for teachers and school leaders in social and emotional development and trauma-sensitive practices.

Meeting the complex needs of diverse students is challenging for any teacher. A recent study of 10,000 educators determined that stress ranks among their top three feelings at school. Great teachers are skilled instructors. They cultivate relationships with and among students and create climates that are based on trust, caring, and respect. They model empathy and compassion for all students.

Weaponizing our school buildings by putting guns in the hands of educators or school-based police officers may have negative consequences, according to federal research, such as increasing the likelihood of arrests of students of color for minor offenses. Arming educators also could result in accidents or tragic mistakes driven by implicit bias, more likely to impact students of color.

We must enact common-sense gun laws that will keep our schools and communities safe AND strengthen support for educators in doing their most important job – educating our children so that our communities, families, and places of work are filled with intelligent, kind, responsible, and compassionate people.

At New Teacher Center, we embrace these student, school, and teacher leaders. We stand by their side in support, knowing their collective wisdom can lead us towards safer schools with equitable outcomes, and healthier, kinder, trusting learning environments.

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