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National PTA Statement on Shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High

Media Contact

Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (March 1, 2021)—National PTA President Leslie Boggs issued the following statement about the shooting at Watson Chapel Junior High in Pine Bluff, Ark.:

“National PTA and all PTA members nationwide are saddened to hear of the shooting that occurred today at Watson Chapel Junior High. As schools across the country are beginning to reopen for in-person instruction, parents should not have to fear for the safety of their children due to senseless gun violence. The safety and health of all students, educators and staff must be the utmost priority.

“Combating gun violence remains a top priority of PTA, and we call on Congress and the Administration to immediately address the many factors that contribute to rampant gun violence in our country. We cannot wait any longer.

“Policies and legislation must:

  • Fund research on the causes and effects of gun violence on youth and communities, as well as evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.
  • Establish education programs to teach students, parents and community members about gun safety and violence prevention.
  • Require a waiting period and a comprehensive background check for all individuals prior to purchasing a firearm.
  • Restrict internet gun sales, including kits that can be used to make and modify guns.
  • Ban access to military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.

“Limiting access to firearms and assault weapons and strengthening background checks can and will save lives. Common-sense legislation must be enacted today to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.

“PTA members are first and foremost advocates for the safety and well-being of all children. We encourage everyone to get involved in our efforts to protect every child. Our association has developed resources for parents to ensure schools are safe and supportive places for their children, as well as tips on how to talk to their children about violence.”

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit