National PTA staff members show their support for gun violence prevention by wearing orange apparel on June 2.
Every student deserves to learn and grow in an environment that is safe. Sadly, the threat of violence for students – including gun violence – has grown across the country. To raise awareness of the issue and the importance of preventing and eliminating gun violence in schools and communities, June 2 marked the first annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day. As part of the day, people nationwide were encouraged to “Wear Orange” in support of gun violence prevention.
National PTA is committed to eliminating violence in schools, communities and at home. It is a top priority of the association to bring together parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and elected officials to make meaningful changes and find the most effective ways to ensure that all students have a safe environment in which to thrive and learn.
To help prevent gun-related incidents, National PTA advocates for:
- Ensuring gun safety locks and other safety devices are implemented at home;
- Establishing education programs for teachers, parents and other community members about violence prevention and gun safety;
- Restricting internet gun sales, including items that enhance and modify firearms;
- Providing alternative educational settings for youth who have brought a firearm to school, along with appropriate evaluation and counseling;
- Enforcing state and federal age requirements for handgun purchases;
- Raising the minimum age to 21 to be allowed to buy a handgun from non-licensed dealers; and
- Preventing juveniles who commit violent crimes from buying guns as adults.
In addition to the association’s support of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, National PTA has joined other organizations in supporting the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign. The campaign encourages families to be proactive and ask others if there is an unlocked gun in an area where their children play, which can help reduce the chances of gun-related accidents. Sunday, June 21 has been designated National ASK Day. National PTA urges families nationwide to join the association in spreading the ASK message on Facebook and Twitter.
National PTA also supports public policy solutions that prevent and address childhood exposure to violence and trauma. In the past year, National PTA contributed to the Safe, Healthy and Ready to Learn policy paper, led by Futures Without Violence, which outlined seven goals to help provide children an environment free of violence and trauma. The coalition examined research, consulted with experts across the country and convened a multi-disciplinary working group, of which National PTA participated, to develop a comprehensive set of seven recommendations designed to combat this silent epidemic.
The protection of students is of utmost importance. For ways PTAs can help prevent violence in schools and advocate for school safety click here.
Lindsay Kubatzky is a Government Affairs Coordinator for National PTA.