U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes today returned to the school in Waterbury where she taught for fifteen years to highlight legislation she has introduced to keep guns out of classrooms. Joined by students, teachers, parents, and other members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation in front of Kennedy High School, Hayes said she scheduled the event after school, at a school, because, “For far too long, these conversations have been happening without the input of those most directly affected.”
Hayes recently sponsored a resolution in the House aimed at blocking the use of federal education grants to arm teachers. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy sponsored similar legislation in the Senate. Recommendations by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ School Safety Commission have left the door open for districts to use federal funds to arm teachers, and the Connecticut lawmakers want to ensure taxpayer dollars will never be used for this purpose.
“Teachers should not have to worry about securing a firearm in a school, or being trained to use a firearm in a high-pressure situation,” says Hayes.
“We must listen to the students, educators, and parents, who have unequivocally stated they do not want more guns in schools and have overwhelmingly rejected the idea of arming educators,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “Federal education dollars should never be used to purchase guns or train teachers how to fire them, especially when our schools are in need of so many basic necessities, including books, technology, school social workers, and so much more.”
“The chances of harm and injury and death are made all the greater if we arm teachers,” says U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Arming teachers makes our schools less safe, not more safe.”
“Teachers’ certification, training, and expertise are rooted in best educational practices and improving student performance, not in firing weapons,” says CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas. “Our teachers are doing more and more every day and should not be burdened with the additional responsibility of carrying and learning how to fire a gun.”
“The entire Connecticut congressional delegation is really committed to this effort, day in and day out, because we know of the heartbreak we experience in our communities,” said U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.