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Vol. 33: Response to Parkland Tragedy

Cleveland's Response to the Parkland Tragedy

School shootings at Columbine, Sandy Hook and most recently Parkland have resulted in changes to school entry points and procedures. But while schools have changed the way they respond to potential threats and attacks, they've done so without coordinated federal oversight or dedicated resources either for training, safety or broader prevention.

Today High School Students across the country stage mass walkouts, while legislators at the state and federal level are beginning to advocate changes to deter shootings and provide safety in our schools.  19 years after the school shooting at Columbine, the nation continues this discourse. It is within this conversation that the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has determined that advocacy on this topic is necessary.  Thus, in response to the recent mass school shooting, Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Board of Education has submitted a strong response. 

Last evening the Cleveland Metropolitan School Board unanimously approved a resolution supporting legislation to prevent school shootings.

The resolution asks both the U.S. Congress and the Ohio legislature to take action in five key areas. They are
  1. A request to ban on the sale, purchase, possession, and use of assault-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition cartridges, except those needed by military and law enforcement and require universal background checks on individuals purchasing other types of firearms and close the “gun show loophole”
  2. A request to allocate state and federal resources to school systems to support better coordination between law-enforcement and school officials, strengthen crisis response systems, provide safety training and teachers and other school personnel, modify school facilities to better secure access to buildings, purchase additional security hardware, and support school security staff
  3. A request to allocate state and federal resources to strengthen and expand school-based and other mental-health services, counseling, positive behavior programs and social-emotional supports for children
  4. A request to expand Gun-Free School Zones in order to safeguard students walking to and from schools
  5. A request to require that all firearm-related injuries and deaths be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by state and local law-enforcement agencies in order to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background System
  • The Board’s resolution also strongly opposes arming teachers and other educators which only further places the responsibility of safety on schools as opposed to upon legislators and political leaders who should be charged with solutions that prevent further school shootings.
This resolution will be delivered to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur as well as all of the Cleveland area delegates of the Ohio House and Senate to support their work.  

 As the concern for school safety grows, it is vital for lawmakers to support thoughtful plans that include the five key areas in this resolution.  These are the policies worth advancing to promote the welfare of our scholars and our educators and our communities.