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Seventeen people lost their lives yesterday [2/14/2018] when a teen, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, opened fire at his former school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.


The victims include an assistant football coach who jumped in front of the shooter to protect his students, a star swimmer, a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, a seventeen-year old who became a U.S. citizen just last year, and a teacher who unlocked his classroom door to allow frightened students to take cover.


Yesterday’s shooting was the eighteenth school shooting in 2018 alone. We are 44 days into the year. That’s an average of more than two school shootings a week.


I am beside myself with anger. Schools should be the safest place any child could be. They are not. And as a teacher, this reality is devastating.


What can you and I, as educators and individuals who care about the safety of our students, do to stop this senseless violence?


Here’s a start:

 First, write your representatives in Congress and demand they address the tragic gun violence that continues to plague our nation. We need to end the epidemic of gun violence that takes tens of thousands of innocent lives each year.


 Then, make a donation to support the victims and the families of those who lost loved ones in Parkland. A gift of any size is helpful. We can’t take away their pain, but we can help ease the cost of burying the ones we’ve lost and help those grieving get the support they need to heal.


Our hearts may be breaking, but our resolve must stay strong.


We must demand an end to this nightmare. Until our elected leaders take action to protect our students and communities, it may only be a matter of days before this kind of tragedy happens again.


While we mourn the 17 educators and students who were killed in Parkland and pray that the 14 wounded survive, we must also dedicate ourselves to finding an end to this madness.



Lily Eskelsen García
National Education Association


Published by the National Education Association, 1201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-3290.
© 2018