Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Educators Demand Action on Safety

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Educators Demand Action on Safety

Article excerpt

As a generation of young people rises up and calls for action from the country's leaders after yet another deadly school shooting in the United States, Bergen County school administrators want students to know: They hear them and support their efforts.

The Bergen County Association of School Administrators, an organization charged with educating and protecting more than 133,000 students in the county, released a letter Monday calling for legislative bodies to "follow the ethical and moral mandate to keep our children and teachers safe" and take action after a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.

"Once again, American students, teachers and families have to learn about, process and absorb yet another attack on an American school," the letter addressed to students, their families and elected officials says. "The consensus is unequivocal. This is a real-life nightmare that, from all accounts, our legislative bodies are unwilling to act upon, never mind discuss in any significant way."

Adam Fried, president of the association and superintendent of the Harrington Park school district, said Monday that administrators are at a moment in time that requires them to honor students' voices, as well as what they have signed up for as school leaders "for the betterment of society and democracy."

"This is a watershed moment," he said. "It's almost like the students' voices have cut through the fog in their simplicity and we need to make sure people listen."

The letter says America's students, "long the victim of these attacks," have become a leading voice in the need for a national conversation and action regarding gun violence. It further says that dismissing students' "loud, collective and clear voice" would be an error.

Students from Parkland and across the country have called for a discussion of gun control, including limiting access to assault weapons; a nationwide background check system that serves to prevent access for those who should not possess such weapons; and wide-reaching, easily accessible mental health services in schools and in broader society, the letter says. …

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