AASA Urges Congress to Pass Commonsense Gun Safety Legislation

Contact: Kitty Porterfield, kporterfield@aasa.org, 703.774.6953

School Safety Declared a Joint Responsibility of Schools and Community

Alexandria, Va., Jan. 14, 2013 – Following the recent shootings in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) has released a comprehensive statement concerning school safety. The statement calls for collaboration between schools and communities to create a broad approach to protect students and prevent school violence.

“Children have the right to live and learn in a safe and nurturing environment,” said AASA board president, Benny Gooden, in releasing the statement approved by the association’s Executive Committee. Gooden is superintendent of the Fort Smith Public Schools, Fort Smith, Ark.

“The issues we face in trying to prevent disasters such as the ones in Sandy Hook or Columbine or Paducah are complex. We have to work together with first responders, local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, mental health experts and the community at large to find solutions.”

(At a subsequent Governing Board meeting in July ’13), AASA overwhelmingly adopted the original position statement on gun safety, 51-15.)

The statement lists safety programs and procedures that every school district should have in place, including comprehensive and up-to-date safety plans, regular training for all school employees, and effective partnerships with local safety and mental health personnel.

The plan also lists a number of steps that Congress should take to enhance school safety, including increased funding for mental health counselors and services in schools and the passage of legislation that would
• increase enforcement of existing gun laws,
• reinstate the ban on the sale and ownership of assault weapons,
• ban large ammunition magazines,
• require thorough background checks for all gun purchasers and end the “gun show loophole,” and
• prevent individuals convicted of violent crimes and those with mental health issues from purchasing or owning a gun.

“We cannot make our schools armed fortresses,” the statement concludes. “We oppose efforts to bring more guns into our schools by teachers and administrators…Unless we eliminate the easy access to weapons and increase the limited access to mental health care, the conditions that produced this horrific murder of educators and children will be unaddressed.”

The complete statement can be found here. More information for schools leaders on school safety and student mental health in critical incidents can be found here.

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage.

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