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Education associations decry school shooting, call for action
May 25, 2022 |

Tragedy reignites debate over gun control

Two associations representing school superintendents and principals expressed shock Tuesday after a gunman killed at least 19 students and two adults at a Texas elementary school. Those same groups also pushed for policies to protect students but stopped short of recommending specific actions.

The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is part of a terrible trend in the U.S., according to a statement by Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. There have been 27 school shootings in 2022 alone, he said. There have been 188 school shootings since the publication Education Week started keeping track in 2018.

“What are we telling our communities, parents, families and students when we can’t ensure their physical safety at school?” Domenech said. “How are we going to continue the important work of academic recovery and mental health supports in response to the pandemic when we can’t reasonably ensure the core need for physical safety? What kind of message are we sending to the world, particularly the global education community, when we so consistently fail to protect our students? It begs the very fair question, ‘Is school safety on America’s short list of priorities?’ If not, why not?”

Domenech added that the school shootings should be a “serious wake-up call to our nation to take action.”

L. Earl Franks, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, echoed that sentiment in a separate statement.

“The families at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, deserve to send their children to school with the security that they will return at the end of the day unharmed,” Franks said. “That is the promise that every school makes to the students in its care. It’s up to the adults to make policies that reflect this value.”

Neither Domenech nor Franks gave any examples of policies that could be enacted. The shooting set off another round of now-familiar arguments over the nation’s gun laws. President Joe Biden and other Democratic lawmakers suggested passing new restrictions on firearms purchases. In response, some Republicans, such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, accused Democrats of politicizing the tragedy.

Few other associations had issued statements about the shooting as of Wednesday morning. Some exceptions: The American Psychiatric Association, American Counseling Association and American Psychological Association all directed internet users to resources on their websites for coping with trauma and gun violence.

Another exception was National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons. In a statement on his Twitter account, he said it was “impossible to comment every day on the senseless shootings in our country that take the lives of so many.”

“This epidemic must end,” he said.