Contacts: Claudia Briggs at 916-325-1551 or Mike Myslinski, 650-552-5324
CTA Also Backs Feinstein’s Federal Gun Safety Bill
BURLINGAME - Taking a stand to make California’s public schools safer and even more secure, the California Teachers Association is opposing any efforts to arm educators across the state, and is supporting Senator Dianne Feinstein’s legislation to ban military-style assault weapons.
The positions, made with the safety of students and all school stakeholders in mind, were taken over the weekend by the 760 teacher-delegates on the State Council of Education, CTA’s top governing body, at its quarterly meeting in Los Angeles. Delegates approved new policy opposing “the arming of non-law enforcement educational professionals or volunteers on school campuses or at school-related functions.”
“Instead of arming teachers, California needs more school counselors, more access for students to mental health services, safer facilities, and more training for educators to spot the mental health needs of students and bullying or other high-risk behaviors,” said Dean E. Vogel, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and a school counselor.
Noting that the state ranks last in the nation in the number of counselors per student, Vogel said, “I welcome debates not about guns, but about what it takes to make sure our students’ physical and emotional needs are met so they can be successful academically and in life.”
In the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre of 20 children and six educators, Senator Feinstein introduced her Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 to ban the sale, importation and manufacture of 157 military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. The NEA also supports Feinstein’s legislation and opposes arming educators, as proposed by the National Rifle Association. That’s a “preposterous, cynical and unworkable solution” to violence at schools, Vogel said of the NRA idea.
CTA’s concerns come as Stockton educators are remembering one of the first mass school shootings in the nation in January 1989, when a gunman with an AK-47 killed five children and wounded 29 others at Cleveland Elementary School. There have been at least 10 on-campus shootings in California since then.
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.