Posted on February 23, 2018
OPINION: Listen to our children – take away the guns, then counsel troubled youth instead of policing them
"Nationwide, 850K students do not have access to a school counselor & 1.6 million students attend a school with a law-enforcement officer on campus but not a school counselor." https://t.co/dvoZgFr7hr by @peacebem & Onyx Walker
— Popular Democracy (@popdemoc) February 22, 2018
Here is what keeps happening and has to stop: nothing. Elected officials have failed time and time again to adopt gun-control measures that will prohibit and ban the sale of the high-powered weapons used in Sandy Hook, Parkland and countless other mass shootings across the country. Here is a way forward: we can center our efforts around the transformative power of youth organizing on gun control and on creating safe, supported schools that don’t use highly politicized security tactics. Days after their classmates and teachers were gunned down, Parkland, Florida students called out President Trump and other elected officials for doing the bidding of the NRA and gun lobbyists while ignoring the clear common denominator: high-powered automatic weapons. Here is why the shooting in Florida makes their efforts so crucial: Across the country, the response to many previous school tragedies has been to prioritize invasive security measures, police presence and high-tech surveillance in schools. These security measures negatively impact Black, Latino and indigenous students. These are the students who have been hyper-criminalized as a result of decades of school discipline and policing practices. Schools do not need police officers or school resource officers, they need guidance counselors, social workers, mental health continuums, comprehensive social and emotional supports, trauma-informed care and restorative justice. We have the opportunity to embrace solutions that work for all school communities. But first, we have to stop looking for Washington to lead. The agents we need for change are those who are closest to the problem.