Any school shooting is one too many. Yet it seems our nation reached its limit when a young man killed 17 former classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. Inspired by the activist response of Stoneman Douglas students, our nation let out collective cries of #ENOUGH and #NeverAgain that have echoed in schools, communities, and statehouses for the past few months.
NASSP has chosen to amplify those echoes. In the days immediately following the shooting, we issued walkout protest guidance that encouraged principals to promote both student safety and their free expression. We saw shades of the guidance in numerous district policies, and it has become one of NASSP’s most visited pieces of web content ever.
Externally, we have fought to advance a broader view of school safety than the policy conversations have offered. In a hearing before the House of Representatives, NASSP 2018 Principal of the Year Akil Ross addressed the need for a prevention of risk that would reduce the emphasis on interventions. He also represented his peers in a passionate and thoughtful objection to the popular notion of “hardening schools,” specifically by arming teachers. In mid-April, NASSP continued the discussion by convening on Capitol Hill several school leaders who have led their schools through gun tragedies. These school leaders shared stories that reveal just how complex recovery efforts can be and the thoughtful, creative ways they led their communities’ healing. Those points will be reinforced at the National Principals Conference, July 11–13, in Chicago, when Aztec High School principal Warman Hall will lead a discussion on the same topic, as it specifically relates to his New Mexico community’s recovery from a December 2017 school shooting.
All of these efforts, combined with the activity of our Student Leadership Advisory Committee, NASSP’s participation in the March 24 and April 20 days of action, and numerous other activities, contribute to the growing consensus among educators and all Americans that gun violence in schools will no longer be tolerated. You can rest assured that as schools wind down into summer breaks, NASSP will continue to fight on your behalf and on behalf of the students you serve.
Thank you for all you do to build the future, and enjoy a well-earned, peaceful summer break!
Executive Director, NASSP