At rallies and marches across the country our children and youth are demanding that we do something to stop the violence. They want us to stop allowing them to be killed. And if we continue to do nothing, if we blame others, if we make excuses, if we do not act in some way in their defense, we are complicit in their death.
All of us have an opportunity to join with the students as fellow citizens who want a peaceful and safe society. Our youth are showing us how to organize together, speak out, and make our voices heard. They are showing us how to be hopeful in the midst of tragedy and despair, how to never give up, how to get out of our comfort zone.
At last week's public hearing of the PA House Education Committee on School Safety I heard school administrators and teachers echo the voices of their students:
- We need sensible gun laws, like thorough background checks, age limits on gun purchases and restrictions on military assault weapons.
- We need more teachers, counselors, social workers, mediators and paraprofessionals so every student has a good relationship with at least one caring adult in the school.
- We do NOT need guns in the hands of our teachers.
Let’s listen to our students. There is something that each of us can do.
Demand action on gun violence.
Demand more support for our public school students and schools.
Call and visit your legislators and insist that they act in support of your demands, including state funding for more caring adults in our public schools to meet the increasing needs of our youth.
And if they don’t listen, vote them out.
Our students’ hearts are broken, seeing their friends shot and killed. Let’s not break their hearts again with our failure to act.
Jill Sunday Bartoli