Our kids shouldn't be afraid to go to school.
I was sitting on my desk one afternoon after a long day of teaching. My kids were laughing and talking with one another as they came in and out of my classroom to get their instruments before heading home. I turned on the news, as I often did at the end of the day. I saw reports of a school shooting in Connecticut. I would never be the same.
I talk about this moment a lot because it changed me. Those tiny children being murdered in their school is something I will never be able to get over. I cried on my way home thinking that it could have been my students. It could happen here. Were we prepared? How can we stop this from happening?
I don't have all the answers for solving America's gun violence problem, but collectively, I believe we CAN do things to reduce these shootings and protect our communities. Arming teachers is NOT the answer. I do not believe the "good guy with a gun" theory is going to solve this. I also do not believe that mental health initiatives alone will prevent more shootings. There are things we can do that will not interfere with the right to bear arms.
Universal background checks, everywhere, every time.
Increased training and waiting periods.
Take weapons away from domestic abusers.
Increasing the number of counselors our students have access to IN EVERY SCHOOL.
Promoting safe storage and safety to families, especially if there are young children in the house.
These are just a few things I've discussed with concerned Pennsylvanians. What we really need are the law-abiding, gun-owning people of Pennsylvania to educate others and help lead these conversations to a productive place. Together we can solve this, and we don't have to wait for another tragedy to reignite the conversation.
We owe our children a safer future.