FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Dallas, TX): In the wake of the Santa Fe High School shooting on May 18th, which left 10 people dead and 13 injured, Governor Abbott convened a three-day roundtable resulting in a “School and Firearm Safety Plan.” The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus has reviewed the proposals and decries the addition of more guns in Texas schools. Such a policy should never be considered acceptable – let alone as an ostensible response to a school shooting – regardless of any package of proposals that surrounds it.
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus issued the following statement:
“While we believe that Governor Abbott made several promising recommendations, ultimately, any worthwhile proposal designed to improve school safety should never come at the cost of adding more guns in our schools. Unfortunately, Governor Abbott’s plan includes recommendations that would promote just that.
Specifically, Governor Abbott recommended:
- Increasing the number of school marshals by funding training this summer
- Increasing the number of school marshals that can be appointed per school
- Removing the firearm storage requirement for school marshals who are in direct contact with students.
There are many pitfalls associated with any program that will allow teachers and school personnel with minimal active shooter training to be placed in situations where they are the first line of defense. First, extensive training is necessary for anyone armed to know how to confront active shooters successfully – and without endangering any of the potentially hundreds of students, faculty, and staff in the facilities. If we are forced to allow people to carry guns in our schools, they must be trained law enforcement personnel. Second, the risks of armed school personnel will increase the financial liability of schools. Finally, firearms on campus will only increase anxiety and concern for school safety, thereby fundamentally changing the learning environment of a school.
Some of Governor Abbott’s recommendations are more promising, such as: 1) appropriating funds to provide mental health evaluations identifying students at risk with follow up services; 2) providing schools with resources to implement Behavioral Threat Assessment Programs; 3) improving school infrastructure and design, and 4) strengthening the safe firearm storage law, promoting awareness of safe storage practices, and requiring mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns. Laws requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns, for example, are potentially valuable – provided that such laws mete the appropriate punishment for noncompliance. However, no proper response to school shootings should do anything to compromise school safety, even as it addresses other issues.
No measure can prevent all acts of violence – but the right combination of strategies can greatly reduce the probability of their occurrence, without exacerbating the problem. Strategies that are preventative and focus on the mental well-being of young people are to be applauded and funded, but should not include allowing teachers and school personnel to be armed.”
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ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN TO KEEP GUNS OFF CAMPUS
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push loaded, concealed guns on college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 420 colleges and universities in 42 states have joined the Campaign. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Julie Gavran, Western Director based in Dallas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Pelosi, Executive Director, email@example.com (914-629-6726)