As a parent of two public school students, I am heartbroken for the families who lost their loved ones yesterday in Parkland, Florida, and for everyone who has been traumatized by so many school shootings this year. And I am angry, because I have so little faith in our Republican-controlled Congress and President to do anything to address the crisis of gun violence in our country.
In their total absence, we must take the safety of our kids into our own hands.
There are steps that we can take to help schools learn how to identify students and members of their school communities who are potential threats. California is one of few states that has an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) law, which allows law enforcement to temporarily remove weapons from the possession of individuals reported to pose extreme risk. This is very relevant to the tragedy in Florida, where teachers and students believed this young man to be a threat and knew that he had weapons in his possession.
I have been making progress in my Bay Area Assembly District to bring gun violence prevention programs to schools and youth organizations. We should provide these resources to every school district. I’m working to connect school districts across the state to training programs for addressing gun violence issues – click here to put your name on our list for more information and to share how your community is working to reduce school violence.
Another initiative of mine, which aims to address mental health more broadly in our student population but will also help to reduce risks that students pose to themselves and others, is a bill I introduced this week which provides schools with resources for in-school physical, social, and emotional services for students. I believe that all students, no matter their income and background, should have access to mental health services to support their success and safety.
I refuse to accept that there are no solutions to gun violence in schools. As a parent, I feel it is my duty to push for these reforms and additional changes to increase school safety.
I invite you to join the conversation – join our list for more information on the progress of our initiatives and to share your input. We are more effective together than alone when it comes to ending gun violence.