Let's be clear: teachers unions are at the forefront of making sure that guns stay out of schools.Last Thursday, Michigan legislators passed a bill that would allow certain people to carry concealed firearms in schools and other previously gun-free zones. The next day, 20 children and six adults were murdered by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.In light of the massacre, the Michigan measure, which was backed by GOP representatives and awaits a signature from Gov. Rick Snyder (R), has provoked strong feelings. Sunday's episode of "Meet the Press" included a passionate debate on whether teachers or school administrators should have guns. Also on Sunday, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and David Hecker, president of ATF Michigan, wrote a letter to Snyder urging him to veto the legislation, arguing that "firearms have absolutely no place in our schools."One group that has taken no position on the legislation is StudentsFirst, the education reform group that was started by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and that happens to be active in Michigan politics.Asked about its stance, StudentsFirst spokeswoman Ileana Wachtel said, "StudentsFirst believes that schools have to be a safe haven for kids. It is incumbent upon our elected officials to ensure that every single child is protected, particularly those under the care and direction of our public schools."Asked whether that means the group supports or opposes the concealed-carry expansion, Wachtel said, "We're focused on education reform policies. That's what we do." [emphasis mine]
But Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst take no stand on whether guns should be allowed in schools.
Here again, in its entirety, is SF's statement following the Newtown tragedy:
So they are willing to send thoughts and prayers. But standing up for keeping guns out of schools? Meh...Following today's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the entire StudentsFirst family is mourning with the victims, their families, and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. We have offered our colleagues in the state any assistance they may need.
There are no adequate words to express the horror and senseless nature of violence in our schools. It happens far too often in our country. As a mother myself, I understand the hesitation every parent will feel in the coming days when they kiss their children and send them off to school -- to a place of learning and growth that ought to be a safe haven from violence.Our children are our most valuable assets, and we lost too many of them today. Today's event forces us to ask ourselves: how are we expected to foster an environment in which students can learn, grow, thrive, and set off on positive life-paths when we cannot guarantee basic needs such as their safety?But events like these also strengthen our resolve to do exactly that -- improve schools for children and thereby improve entire communities. The entire StudentsFirst organization -- including the members of our team in Connecticut -- recommit ourselves to that mission today, as we pause to send our thoughts and prayers to those affected in Newtown.
Rhee has decided to align herself with the extreme right of the Republican party. She is apparently now so beholden to them that she can't even say she's against guns in schools - even as she invokes the image of kissing her own children goodbye as she sends them off to their own classrooms.
Fortunately for Rhee's children, teachers union leaders like Randi Weingarten and David Hecker are willing to stand up and lead when their own mother is lacking in courage. Rhee should send them a thank you note next time she cashes a check for giving a big speech to a bunch of right-wing education privatizers.
Dear Randi: thanks for standing up for my kids' safety while I was courting Tea Partiers...
This is a good step which has been taken, because it is not at all a good sign that student are taking concealed carry Gun in the school.ReplyDelete