Across the country, young people have been leading campaigns to end gun violence and create safer schools. Here in Boston, high school students organized a massive turnout for the March 24 March for Our Lives, held on the one-month anniversary of the tragic Parkland school shooting. The BTU was proud to be a sponsor of the march and rally.
On the day of the march and rally, Boston Latin Academy student Vikiana Petit-homme, a leader of March for our Lives Boston, published an op-ed in the Boston Herald:
Following the Parkland tragedy, students across the country joined to create a gun-reform movement. Gun violence, sadly, has existed far longer and people have been protesting for years, especially communities of color.
Now that we, as youth, have national attention and people are listening to us, it is imperative that we lift the voices of the people that have been left behind. I march today to represent those who are not alive to speak for themselves. I march for my classmates. I march for my little cousins. I march for my life.
Educators around the country continue to speak out on social media using the #ArmMeWith hashtag.
President Tang said she does not know a single teacher who wants to carry a gun in school. She told the Boston Globe:
“That is not what we do as educators,” she said. “Our expertise, our job, our skill set is around teaching and instruction and supporting students and motivating them and inspiring them. It should not be part of our job description to learn how to shoot a gun. That’s what you do in the military, and that’s what you do as a police officer.”
SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, published a helpful guide for parents, caregivers, and teachers.
Helping Kids After a Shooting from the American School Counselor Association
The ASCA has compiled this list of webinars, suggested websites, documents, and publications for supporting children after a shooting. Their short list of recommendations are:
- Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
- Limit exposure to television and the news.
- Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
- Listen to kids’ fears and concerns.
- Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but that there are people who do bad things.
- Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
- Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.
15 Tips for Talking with Children about School Violence from Colorín Colorado:
These suggestions for parents and educators provide guidance on how to talk about school violence, discuss events in the news, and help children feel safe in their environment. These resources were originally compiled following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The article has been updated as new resources are made available.
Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Events collection from Share My Lesson:
In the aftermath of recent cowardly acts of violence, the American Federation of Teachers’ Share My Lesson has selected lesson plans, webinars and go-to guides for educators and the wider community to help grieving and fearful students cope in the days to come. Included in this collection are resources on Mass Shootings, Helping Students Express Their Feelings, Mental Health Resources, and When Hate is in the Headlines.
Guide to Talking with Students about the School Shooting from the New York Times.
Many educators weighed in with the New York Times for this compilation.