AFTNM On School Shooting In Rio Rancho
Most Recent School Shooting Falls on One Year Anniversary of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shooting
Albuquerque – American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statements:
“Not again, not today. That was my first reaction when I heard the news of the shooting in Rio Rancho. On the day we are mourning and honoring the 17 souls murdered in Parkland, Fla., a shooter inflicted terror on the children, educators and parents at V. Sue Cleveland High School. Thank you to the educators who acted to keep their students safe. My thoughts are with the Rio Rancho community and with all of the families affected by gun violence who are forced to relive their grief every time another school shooting occurs. Thankfully, nobody was injured and the shooter was apprehended, but the fact remains that once again someone was able to shatter the safe sanctuary of a school with a deadly weapon.
“While other countries have been able to solve this public safety and public health epidemic, the lives of our children and educators are at risk here. It’s time for action on proven measures to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and away from our schools, and to ensure children and educators can feel safe in their schools. Policies such as responsible firearm-storage laws, laws requiring background checks on all gun sales, red-flag laws, improving the physical security of schools, and supporting the health of students, are effective ways to bolster school safety and must be acted on.”
“Every day in New Mexico, and across our country, students come to school with the expectation to learn, and educators come to school with the desire to teach. Parents trust that after they drop off their children at the bus stop or at their school that they are safe until the dismissal bell rings. Educators have students’ learning at the forefront every day, and we deeply believe schools are the heart of our communities.
“No student, parent, or educator should ever fear that attending school, or visiting a place of learning would result in violence, injury, or death. Yet, our students, educators, and schools are the victims, once again, of senseless acts of violence, this time, and sadly again, in our own back yard. We commend Cleveland High School staff for their quick work to ensure the safety of their students, but we don’t have to look far into our history to find very different outcomes.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with every New Mexican touched by the epidemic of gun violence, but we also recognize those actions, while genuine, are not enough. We must push to enact laws that seek to address this epidemic in our State and country. We must recognize that when adults fail to act in the best interests of our students – our children – they will inevitably continue to be victims. We are morally obligated to ensure our children do not continue to grow up in a society where school-based gun violence is normal.”