Members of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions representing educators and support staff in Newtown Public Schools relive the Sandy Hook massacre with each school shooting headline. Yesterday’s incident in Texas closely mirrors their own horror, in which six of their colleagues and 20 of their students were in December, 2012 slain. Trent Harrison (second from left in second row, in photo), a science educator at the town’s high school and president of our Newtown Federation of Teachers, captured his colleagues’ emotions in an open letter to the nation:
“Once again, our hearts have been pierced with the horrific news of innocent children and dedicated educators being senselessly killed. We unfortunately know the pain and sorrow you are now feeling, and will continue to cope with, for years to come.”
Click here for the latest reporting on the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX.
“No college courses or professional development can or ever will prepare you for what lies ahead. There will be bad days – and really bad days – before they start getting better. It will be difficult to enjoy school and classroom celebrations as the guilt you carry is suppressed inside of you.
“You will heal. It will take time, and everyone heals at their own pace. Being a professional, you will continue on, doing what you love; teaching and caring for the students who come to your classroom everyday looking to you for encouragement and guidance.
“The students will give you the strength to carry on. You will be strong for them just as they will be strong for you. A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, and far too many school districts and teachers are on this journey leading us from these senseless tragedies.”
Click here for our previous feature on how Newtown teachers union members responded to the Sandy Hook massacre.
“Bus stops should not be a place where you last saw your child. ‘Have a good day at school’ should not be the last words a child hears from their parents. Schools should be a place where children are able to learn, develop and celebrate their accomplishments without the worry of not seeing their parents or siblings again.
“Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Oxford High School and now Robb Elementary are evidence of the inaction of our elected officials. The massacres for which they have become synonymous expose politicians’ inability to work together for the good of our children, their educators and the nation.
Click here for our 2017 membership update on the Sandy Hook massacre’s fifth anniversary.
“How many times must we see in the news events such as these before we say, ‘enough is enough?’ How many more communities will need to become a part of this list? How many more children will never be able to reach their potential due to lack of action? How many more dedicated teachers and support personnel will lose their lives trying to protect their children?
“Inaction is inexcusable!”
Click here to be part of grassroots efforts to demand action organized by Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence.
“In order for organisms to survive over millions of years on this planet, they had to adapt and change as their environment changed. Failure to adapt results in the extinction of a species. We too must adapt and change our approach towards gun violence and legislation surrounding gun ownership. Failure to adapt means we will continue to face events such as these, and suffer the consequences that we are becoming all too familiar with.
“We tell our children and students that we care about them every day, but actions speak louder than words. We need to show them – now – that we really care by taking the necessary steps to put an end to gun violence in our nation. Twenty-three years of senseless tragedies is long enough.”
Click here for our national union president’s statement on the Uvalde massacre.