Ohio educators support ban on weapons as path to student safety

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The Ohio Federation of Teachers urges the Ohio Legislature to pass a ban on tactical assault weapons and fully-automatic weapons to protect the human rights and safety of students and school personnel.

"All students deserve safe, welcoming, supportive school environments where they can learn and thrive without fear," said OFT President Melissa Cropper.

"No parent should send his or her child to school in fear that the child may never come home. No child should fear going to school. We live in a caring, passionate, intelligent society that can figure this out if we could simply foster the important conversations that must be had about resolutions."

OFT calls on the state legislators to require more intensive background checks, increase the age of gun purchase to 21, provide Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and close the loopholes for the sale of all guns.

"Teachers must be viewed as educators, not as security personnel," Cropper said. "Laws restricting access to guns and funding for mental health care are a place to start this important conversation."

Principals, administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals and other school staff have repeatedly shown their instinct to shield and protect students in tragic situations where guns threaten their lives in the school setting. While their acts of heroism should be lifted up, we must double down on the work needed to ensure safe working environments that are free from gun violence.

School safety is a multi-faceted issue that requires social-emotional, mental health and behavioral support, as well as common sense approaches to address gun violence in schools.

America’s students, led by the courageous young people of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, are now leading the charge to prevent further tragedy.

OFT supports the courageous efforts of the survivors of gun violence at Stoneman Douglas, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, in Ohio: Success Tech Academy, Chardon High School, Jackson Memorial Middle School, Madison Junior Senior High School and too many other schools and institutions of higher education to name, and of all those who have fought for schools that are free from gun violence, by ensuring that April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine massacre, becomes a day of action to end gun violence in schools, and by supporting student-led actions such as the marches on March 14 and March 24.