FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Max Samis, Press Secretary
Washington, D.C., June 27, 2019 — In response to Florida’s recently passed “Guardian Program” promoting arming teachers to combat school shootings, students, parents, teachers, and gun violence prevention advocates are joining together to keep guns out of their schools. In response to this dangerous and ineffective law, Team ENOUGH, Brady’s student-led youth initiative, has joined with the Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to release a toolkit for activists to effectively resist and advocate for sensible, life-saving gun laws instead.
The toolkit includes a guide to local grassroots organizing with local school boards, sample media alerts and statements, information that demonstrates the dangers of these laws, and other resources that gun violence prevention advocates can use to fight for safety in our schools. Brady, Team ENOUGH, and other members of the gun violence prevention movement have long opposed arming teachers, because increasing the number of lethal weapons in our schools does not prevent mass shootings — sensible gun legislation does.
“We grow up in fear of school shootings, and we count on our elected officials and school boards to keep us safe, not put us in even more danger,” said Tampa high school student and Team ENOUGH member Asher Montgomery. “We have active shooter drills every semester. Everything about those drills taught us that guns just don’t belong in the classroom, and if we’re actively putting them in our schools, then something is really wrong. Arming teachers doesn’t add to our education, it adds to the fear.”
“We need to prioritize safety in our schools, and that means keeping guns out of our classrooms,” said Kisa Shapiro, co-advisor of Team ENOUGH Tampa. “This isn’t a partisan issue. Research shows that when guns are added to schools, students — especially students of color — are at even greater risk. Arming teachers is a false solution to a real problem, and it’s up to school boards across Florida to take action to keep our students safe.”
Team ENOUGH is joined by thousands of Florida educators, parents, and students in this effort to eliminate, not escalate, gun violence in schools. Polling this spring showed that a clear majority of Florida residents are opposed to arming teachers in the classroom. Local school boards decide on whether to adopt the program, and the coalition plans to keep children safe across Florida using this toolkit to convince each and every school board to opt out. If you are interested in joining the effort in Florida, please sign up to get involved.
“Teachers are educators, not trained first responders. Introducing guns into the classroom only serves to interfere with the mission of any school, which is to enrich and teach young people,” said Angie Gallo, Vice President of Educational Development for the Florida PTA. “There are so many productive, promising solutions to gun violence in schools. Arming teachers is not one of those solutions. Adding more guns to our schools will only make this situation even worse.”
Students have taken the lead on fighting for gun-free schools in Florida, making their voices heard in school board meetings and local activism. Team ENOUGH has been active in the process of successfully convincing school boards to decline arming teachers. In April, youth activists from Team ENOUGH, PTA members, the state teachers union, and community members came together to secure votes against arming teachers. They saw victory in Hillsborough, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties, where the school boards voted — sometimes by slim margins — against the program.
Team ENOUGH, the Florida PTA, and the grassroots coalition driving this movement forward are hard at work. The toolkit, published on the Team ENOUGH website, will help other groups across Florida stand up for safety in schools.
Formed in 2018 and supported by Brady, Team ENOUGH is a youth-led initiative that educates and mobilizes young Americans across the country on gun violence prevention. You can join and say ENOUGH to gun violence at www.teamenough.org.
Florida PTA comprises hundreds of thousands of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community leaders devoted to improving the lives of children/youth in our state. PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in the state of Florida, as well as the nation. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children.
To learn more, please visit our website www.floridapta.org and/or our Facebook page for programs available in your community. More information is available by contacting Florida PTA (407/855-7604 or email@example.com).