Reston, VA – NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement in response to the tragic shooting at Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida:

It is difficult to express my anger and feeling of futility in writing yet another response to yet another school shooting. Or to express my deep sadness in offering consoling and supportive words to Stoneman High School Principal Ty Thompson on behalf of his colleagues across the nation. At NASSP, we are struggling to find new ways to repeat the same messages we offered after the shooting at Aztec High School in New Mexico this past December, and after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2011, and after the Columbine massacre in 1999, and after the scores of shootings in between—so commonplace now that most events no longer merit a “breaking news” notification from the media.

But we cannot tire of asserting the inanely obvious reality that all children should attend school without the fear of being shot to death. We continue to advocate for policies that identify and intervene to prevent at-risk behavior. We encourage schools to continue their remarkable efforts to build a trusting culture that thwarts violence from within. And, yes, we continue to advocate for gun violence prevention policies that, at the very least, will limit the wide and largely unchecked availability of weapons of war to people who exhibit violent and threatening behavior.

The casualties of these tragedies are abundant: the children whose lives are terminated, the families who will never get to see their children grow, the communities who lose the contributions that emerge from fulfilled potential. But another casualty is our faith in elected leaders to prioritize the safety of citizens over their own political fortunes. The steady slaughter of our children transcends political agendas, and we call on elected officials of all political persuasions to adopt the common will to end the slaughter.

I do not doubt the sincerity of those elected officials who offer thoughts and prayers. But I also remind them of the words of one of the world’s spiritual leaders, Pope Francis, albeit in a different context. “You pray for the hungry, then you feed them. That’s how prayer works.”

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 SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.