Rise Up, Education Leaders

Apple on book
Apple on book

According to Ezra Klein's Vox article, since the brutal murders of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012, there have been "986 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,234 people and wounding 3,565 more."

Many of these murders happened at schools, colleges and universities. Despite these murders and the losses to so many Americans, we have done absolutely nothing to prevent this behavior. We are being terrorized -- but not by the shooters. Instead, it's the gun lobby and the cowardly politicians throughout our country. Politicians at the state and federal level don't have the courage to step up and stand up for our children, our friends and our neighbors. It's time for us to stop looking to them for direction and leadership.

The National Center for Educational Statistics reported that there are over 98,000 public schools, over 30,000 private schools, and nearly 5,000 colleges and universities. What if the leaders of each of these institutions stood up and started pushing back against the gun lobby and politicians that claim to care about human lives, but don't value them in actuality?

If school and college leaders are responsible for children and young adults on a daily basis, shouldn't they protect them and shouldn't that protection include being a powerful voice for them against the forces that value guns over human lives? Yes, leaders of schools and colleges work to protect their students in practice on a daily basis, but do they use their positions of power to make change at a state and national level? What would happen if they did on the issue of gun violence?

Now, before you get upset and think I'm blaming school and college leaders, I'm not. What I'm saying is that the roughly 135,000 leaders could be leading the charge against gun violence and for gun control. Although mass shootings also take place in movie theaters, shopping malls, and churches, educational leaders have the expertise to change minds.

In addition, these individuals have made a commitment to create learning environments, to keep children and young people safe, and have been trained to advocate and use data to convince people of the value of education. In cooperation with educational organizations, school and college leaders should rise up and use their voices and skills to advocate and push for background checks, stricter gun control, increased gun safety laws, and a ban on assault weapons.

If there was ever an issue for all of these leaders to get behind, it is the safety of our learning spaces and our children. How can children learn when they are fearing for their lives?

Often times, we don't care enough about the loss of other people's lives -- even other children's lives. We only care when these mass shootings hit us personally. Leaders of schools and colleges -- these shootings hit or will hit you personally, and these are your children and young people to protect.

Please use your intellect, voices, data and hearts to force those who can change our gun laws -- Congress and state legislatures -- to stop this madness and horror once and for all. And, please, don't merely issue an official statement on gun violence. Instead, reach out, band together and push back against the vile bullies that protect the culture of violence that now characterizes the United States.