“We all agree that schools should be a safe place for children and not sites of shootings. And yet, with each shooting on school property our frustration at the seemingly intractability of our response deepens. But we can do something. We can change how we enter into this public debate about our children’s well-being.

  1. We need to stop letting our public discussion be driven by a small percentage of the public. The reality is that most gun owners want rational gun control. Plus, most people get that those with mental illnesses are being effectively treated. And still others understand that locking school doors is critical, but it isn’t enough; just as having school resource officers isn’t the complete answer. 
  2. We need to stop seeing those who are calling for a specific change as villains. Yes, there are extremists, some are loud and some live in echo-chambers–but most people are willing to tolerate a wider range of views.

“The individual groups of the Learning First Alliance have separately voiced their concerns, and like most Americans, they want our kids to be safe and to thrive. They have good ideas and also deep frustrations. 

“As you read each statement, it can be easy to fixate on differences. Instead, think about what we all have in common. Let us not take the easy road of pointing out areas of disagreement, but rather work together in our shared commitment of ensuring our kids are safe and thriving.”

-Richard Long, executive director of the Learning First Alliance 

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

Our hearts are with the Nashville community, as our nation experiences another tragedy. This is the 19th shooting at a school or university in 2023 where at least one person was wounded. Congress must enact common-sense gun laws. Our kids deserve better. 

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

Three students and three adults are dead in yet another senseless school shooting, this time at Covenant School in Nashville. NAESP joins the nation in mourning their loss. We’ll continue to advocate for stronger policies and funding to prioritize school safety.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

Our hearts are shattered for the school community at Covenant Knights in Nashville, where 3 students & 3 adults were shot and killed by an armed individual today. This tragic loss of 6 lives emphasizes how crucial it is that legislators swiftly prioritize school safety. #StopGunViolenceNow

Statement from National PTA President Anna King, Tennessee PTA President Dwight Hunter, and North Carolina PTA President Francelia Burwell

“Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting yesterday at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn. This follows three separate shootings on school grounds last week in Texas and Colorado and recent shootings near two schools in Durham, N.C. There are no real words that can accurately convey the horror, anger, sadness and disgust we continue to feel as gun violence continues to take innocent lives in our country, and especially those of our precious children, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces and nephews. We cannot let this continue to happen.” 

Visit http://PTA.org/GunViolencePrelencePrevention… and join us in demanding action on gun violence.

National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA)

Absolutely devastating news of yet another horrifying school shooting. Our school PR hearts and thoughts are with The Covenant School community. Communication support and resources can be found at https://nspra.org/crisis and https://nspra.org/school-violence.

Open letter to elected leaders of the United States Congress, from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and others

NO MORE. To the Elected Leaders of the United States Congress,

We stand together as educators, principals, school staff, parents, health professionals and professional associations to say, “No more!” No more hashtags. No more headlines. No more short-lived outrage. No more empty promises. We do not need more blue-ribbon committees, federal commissions, hearings. We need meaningful and immediate action. Gun violence is a public health crisis. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children under the age of 19. You have shown us time and time again that though these atrocities elicit your outrage, you fail to take steps toward preventing more gun violence. No matter the carnage; no matter the numbers lying dead. And the impact of your failure is devastating and long-lasting. 

Ask the countless American communities who were robbed of their safe spaces by gun violence over the past two-decades. Ask families from the 27 schools that have been traumatized by a school shooting THIS YEAR. Ask the tens of thousands of individuals who lost a loved one to suicide by firearm this year. Six out of every 10 gun deaths are suicides. And access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide. In fact, gun suicides are concentrated in states with high rates of gun ownership. Ask the over 4.5 million women whose lives have been threatened by an intimate partner with a gun. Ask the people who are victims of the 10,300 hate crimes involving a firearm in the United States each year—more than 28 each day.

Ask the families, neighbors and countless Americans who have witnessed these horrendous acts. An APA 2019 national survey conducted in the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton shootings found that more than three-quarters of adults (79%) in the U.S. say they experience stress as a result of the possibility of a mass shooting. A review of research on the trauma and mental health impact of mass shootings concluded that mass shootings are associated with a variety of adverse psychological outcomes in survivors and members of affected communities. This is a gun issue. Don’t conflate it with mental illness. 

The data show that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent. The answer to a national problem with guns is not to stigmatize people with mental illnesses. The answer to a national problem with guns is not to increase access to guns. The answer is laws that promote safe gun storage; expand background checks; raise the age limit on ownership; track unlawful attempts to purchase firearms; support Extreme Risk Protection Order laws; and ban weapons that can do mass destruction in a short period of time. These laws can prevent suicides, deaths by firearms, and reduce the risks to others. The answer is to pass legislation now to promote gun safety and increase rigorous research on gun violence. NO MORE DELAYS. NO MORE EXCUSES. NO MORE SENSELESS DEATHS. NO MORE.