Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, Uvalde. These names resonate with horror, violence, and loss, and they are just four of the hundreds of school shootings that have taken place in our country in the past decade.
As educators and adults who work with young people in schools, we write to express our disgust. We have said "enough is enough" too many times. We demand legislative action at the federal level to address this problem before school begins in the fall of 2022.
We are horrified to be living with continued, preventable violence as we observe the twenty-third anniversary of the Columbine mass shooting and the 10 year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook.
The cost of inaction is paid in lives. Nine hundred forty-eight school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, and as in just the first five months of the year, the U.S. has suffered at least 40 such school shootings, resulting in 31 deaths and 53 injuries.
In addition to physical injury and death, mass shootings have a harmful impact on our students and our sense of ourselves as communities. Since the attack at Columbine High School in 1999, nearly 300,000 students have been on campus during a school shooting. There is no reason that students in the United States should be learning to hide from gunmen instead of improving their hearts and minds in a safe and peaceful environment.
We refuse to allow our students to be endangered and terrorized by violence that could be prevented with stricter gun laws. It is unacceptable that this violence continues to be a part of our lives.
Ten years ago in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, Congress had the opportunity to pass meaningful legislation and failed. We demand that the main lines of that legislation be taken back up and this time passed.
At a minimum, gun legislation should include
* Universal background checks for all gun purchases, including those made from unlicensed and private sellers
* A mandatory waiting period for of at least 10 days for all gun purchases
* The return to a strong federal ban on assault weapons
* A federal ban on high-capacity magazines
These minimal changes are endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers and supported by the vast majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners.
In order to protect our students and ensure the passage of these laws, we, the undersigned, pledge to not return to work in the fall until at least these minimal federal protections are passed.
Not an educator? How you can help
* Sign this general petition to support our cause
* Register to vote
* Pledge to vote only for candidates who support gun control measures
* Learn more about gun violence
* Organize a walkout of your own in solidarity with us.
* Pledge to keep your children home from school
* Spread the word: share these petitions in your social media, and tell your own story of why gun control measures are important to you.