NJEA supports common-sense gun safety measures designed to protect students and school employees from gun violence, and to make all of our schools and communities safer. NJEA is working in coalition with other groups to advance legislation to help achieve that goal, and has issued a position statement in support of three bills which directly involve schools, students and school employees.
NJEA Vice President Wendell Steinhauer made the following statement today in Trenton at a Statehouse press conference supporting common-sense gun safety legislation:
“As a teacher and a parent myself, I was shocked, saddened and sickened by the horrific events in Newtown last December.
“There is no reason for any civilian to have a weapon – much less a whole arsenal -- that can inflict the kind of damage that was done there.
“We were all reminded that day that school employees, like police officers and firefighters, are selfless and heroic.
“It takes a special person to rush toward an armed, body-armored intruder.
“It takes a special person to use her body as a shield to protect her 5- and 6-year-old students.
“Thank goodness those brave educators were there that day in Newtown, or who knows what the death toll might have been.
“And we owe it to the memory of those heroes to do everything in our power to make sure no educator or student ever has to experience anything like that again.
“That’s not an easy task, and it’s not something we can accomplish with legislation alone. But the legislation passed by the Assembly last Thursday is a necessary first step.
“It creates a school security task force made up of people who work in schools and law enforcement and charges them to find ways to make school buildings safer. That’s just common sense.
“It creates weapon-free zones around schools, day care centers and other public places. That sends a strong message that children must be shielded from the threat of gun violence, and gives law enforcement the ability to better protect them. That’s just common sense.
“And this legislation puts our money where our mouth is, by prohibiting the State of New Jersey from investing pension assets in companies that manufacture, import or sell assault firearms for civilian use. That’s just common sense if you want to begin to stem the tide of assault weapons in our communities.
“We urge the Senate to take quick action on these bills, along with all the others that passed the Assembly last week.
“And we urge the Governor show that he puts the interests of children and safe communities ahead of lobbyists for the gun industry by signing them.”