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School board calls for action to prevent school shootings




The Cleveland Board of Education has called on federal and state legislators to take strong action to prevent gun violence in U.S. schools.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday the school board requested that lawmakers:

  • ban assault-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition cartridges, except those needed by military and law enforcement.
  • mandate universal background checks on individuals purchasing firearms, including buyers who purchase firearms at gun shows.
  • provide adequate funds to help improve coordination between schools and law enforcement, strengthen school building security and staff safety training, and expand mental health services and emotional supports for children.
  • expand gun-free zones around schools.
  • require that all firearm-related injuries and deaths be reported to the FBI, strengthening background checks.

In the same measure, the board also expressed strong opposition to arming teachers, saying it does not solve the problem.

(Read the resolution here.)

The resolution takes a "two-pronged approach" of preserving Second Amendment rights while supporting expanded access to mental-health care, board Chair Anne E. Bingham said. She said the swift and unanimous approval demonstrated the board's resolve.

"This board, as a rule, has shied away from making political statements," she said. "But when it comes to school safety, the safety of children, teachers and staff, that's no longer a political issue. It's a board issue because it's a matter of safety."

The Council of the Great City Schools has encouraged member districts to approve such resolutions. The council represents 70 of the nation’s large urban school systems.

The Cleveland board decided to also send the resolution to Ohio lawmakers. Bingham directed that it be delivered to U.S. senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, U.S. representatives Marcia Fudge and Marcy Kaptur and the area delegations to the Ohio House and Senate.

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