Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the School Board approved this resolution against gun violence at its meeting on March 8.
Whereas, in school communities from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook to Parkland, the lives of hundreds of students and school employees have been lost to the epidemic of gun violence; and
Whereas, Alexandria City has not been immune to this violent epidemic as members of our community have been lost to gun violence and a mass shooting has taken place on our City’s recreational fields; and
Whereas, more than 153,000 students attending more than 171 primary and secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 19991; and
Whereas, hundreds of thousands of parents, guardians and school employees have been impacted by the mental health toll of caring for children who have experienced gun violence in their schools2; and
Whereas, there are more than 33,000 gun deaths per year in the United States3; and
Whereas, nearly 1,300 American children age 0-17 die from shootings every year and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds every year4; and
Whereas, suicide and homicide are the second and third leading causes of death among the 15-24 age group, and of these deaths, more than 65% are attributed to a firearm5; and
Whereas, the United States is estimated to have more than 300 million firearms in circulation6 and 34% of school-aged children live in homes with one or more of those firearms7, compelling communities to increase education efforts about responsible gun ownership and the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) movement; and
Whereas, Alexandria City Public Schools believes that the health and safety of our more than 15,000 students and 2,500 employees is our highest priority and that a vibrant, healthful, safe, enriching, and equitable school environment is vital to ensure every student succeeds; and
Whereas, Alexandria City Public Schools, in alignment with the Health and Wellness Goal in its ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan, has amended policies and budgets to prioritize improving mental health supports and has executed security steps and training to provide safe and secure school environments; and
Whereas, the prevention of incidents of gun violence cannot be relegated to local school divisions alone and the ongoing political inaction is failing our children;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alexandria City School Board calls upon the United States Congress and the Virginia General Assembly to prioritize the protection of students and school division employees by passing legislation that:
1. More effectively regulates access to firearms in the interest of public safety by:
a) Establishing universal background checks to purchase a firearm,
b) Reenacting the federal ban on the sale and possession of military-style assault weapons,
c) Banning large capacity ammunition magazines, and
d) Enactment of gun violence restraining order laws;
2. Increases education efforts regarding gun ownership, signs of potential gun violence and Asking Saves Kids (ASK) efforts;
3. Declares gun violence a public health crisis and removes all barriers to funding of public health research; and
4. Examines, strengthens and funds mental health supports in our communities.
View the recording of last Wednesday’s forum, “A Conversation about Gun Safety and the Safety of American Schools” at T.C. Williams High School.
1 Grabar, Henry. (2018, February 15). 150,000 American Students Have Experienced a School Shooting. Slate.
3 Hauser, Christine. (2017, November 4). Gun Death Rate Rose Again in 2016, CDC Says. New York Times.
4 Fowler, Katherine A. et al. (2017, July 1). Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States. Pediatrics. Volume 140 (Issue 1).
5 Center for Disease Control (2017) 10 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Violence-Related Injury Deaths, United States-2015.
6 Horsley, Scott. (2016, January 5). Guns in America, by the Numbers. NPR.
7 Schuster, Mark A., Franke, Todd M., Bastian, Amy M., Sor, Sinaroth, and Halfon, Neal. (2000, April). Firearm Storage Patterns in US Homes With Children. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 90, No. 4.