Reston, VA – NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s school safety proposal:
While we appreciate that the Trump administration has continued to search for school safety solutions in the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, their proposal to arm teachers and other school personnel is entirely misguided and dangerous. Putting more guns in our classrooms in the hands of anyone other than trained law enforcement officials and school resource officers will leave our schools more susceptible to accidents and violence rather than safer from it.
We welcome the president’s endorsement of the STOP School Violence Act and the Fix NICS Act, which would collectively strengthen background checks and provide more resources for intervening with individuals before disturbing behavior becomes violent.
All dimensions of school safety and a supportive school climate must work in harmony for students to be truly secure, and the failure to address any single dimension leaves the job only half done. In this case, while the Trump administration’s proposal provides coverage on several fronts, it leaves a gaping hole in addressing civilian access to weapons of war and offers solutions that could put more children in harm’s way. We encourage the administration and Congress to take action specifically to curtail the availability of military-style, high-capacity firearms that have no place in a civil society.
Ironically, the proposed funding surge to “harden” schools coincides with the president’s proposed elimination of student wellness services under Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant would provide support consistent with the administration’s goals and-we strongly believe-accelerate communities toward those goals far more than an investment solely in physical security.
Clearly, far more conversation is pending on the best way to keep students safe at school. We look forward to being a part of that conversation and to assisting Secretary DeVos any way we can as she leads the Trump administration’s commission on school safety. Yet, we hope that as the conversation progresses, we maintain the proper priority. Schools are not designed as fortresses, but as places of learning. We must be vigilant that schools are not hardened to the point at which security measures overshadow the need to build positive, trusting climates in which each student can learn at their best.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.