The response to our call for Action on April 20 to Stop Gun Violence in Schools has been overwhelming. Over 22,000 have pledged to be involved. We are working with a coalition that includes the AFT, NEA, AASA, BATS, Sandy Hook Promise and others to make sure that our lawmakers hear that the status quo is unacceptable. Our goal is simple–we want laws and regulations designed to stop gun violence. In the coming weeks, we will work with gun control advocacy groups to identify and promote sensible legislation that will make a difference.
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Since our Friday email, we have been flooded with questions. Below are the most frequently asked questions with our responses.
1. What am I pledging to do?
On April 20th we are asking you to participate in a high profile activity of your choosing that demonstrates your support for legislation and programs designed to reduce gun violence in schools. The color of gun control is orange. Please wear an orange armband or headband that day.
School communities and other groups should engage and publicize activities that make sense for them. What is an appropriate action for a high school may not work in an elementary school. In the coming days, we will put suggested activities on our website as well as a form where we encourage you to share what you will do.
Some schools may choose a sit in before, during or after school. Others may encircle the school with linked arms. Some may choose an assembly where they read the names of students and adults who have died from gun violence in schools. Some classes may write letters to policymakers. Some may organize marches to the offices of legislators.
We ask that any activity be respectful and peaceful in honor of those we have lost. We are not battling our communities or school administration. We are working together as educators, students, families and communities to send a loud message to policymakers and legislators. We are taking a stand against those who sit on their hands while students and teachers are slaughtered in their schools.
2. Why April 20?
April 20 is the day of the massacre at Columbine High School during which 12 students and one teacher were killed. Yes, we are aware that the date is associated with other events and causes. We hope that everyone will focus together on the need to stop the slaughter of innocents by guns on that day. The significance of the date for those of us dedicated to stopping gun violence outweighs any pre-existing associations to that date.
3. There are other events that are happening including a walk out on March 14 and a March on Washington on the 24th. Why not have one day?
NPE supports all other actions against gun violence. We want the momentum for real change to build with every new action. In the past, when gun tragedies happened, they attracted attention and mourning for a week or two. We say “no more moving on.” It will take the work of many groups on many days to overcome the resistance to change. We salute and support all efforts to combat gun violence, and we look forward to working with every group that shares our goals.
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Thank you for all that you do,
President of the Network for Public Education