Whereas, more than 150,000 students in at least 170 primary or secondary schools in the United States, including the 15 students killed on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have experienced a campus shooting since 1999, when the first mass shooting at a U.S. public school killed 12 students and one teacher and injured 21 others at Columbine High School; and
Whereas, the children who have attended American public schools since 1999 have never known a world without school shootings; and
Whereas, the basic life needs of children, including feeling physically secure and protected, must be met for them to succeed in school and life; and Whereas, a vibrant, enriching and respectful school culture, where all students feel a sense of belonging and connection, is essential to school safety; and
Whereas, the Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board believes both the physical and mental well-being of our students and employees is critical to their ability to thrive; and
Whereas, the Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board has prioritized improving health supports and safety precautions to prevent gun violence and other acts of violence from occurring on campus; and
Whereas, the Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board believes the school employee’s role in campus safety and student well-being must not include carrying a gun or having access to one in their classroom or work area; and
Whereas, the responsibility for keeping students and staff safe on campus, including from gun violence, is a shared responsibility that cannot be borne by public schools alone, and requires support from the community, local and state public safety agencies, and policymakers at the local, state and federal levels;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board declares its support for the rights of students to express their feelings and needs regarding school shootings and safety;
And be it further resolved that the Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board calls upon:
- Local, county and state public safety agencies to prioritize collaborative threat assessment and crisis planning with school districts.
- The United States Congress and state legislatures, including the Arizona State Legislature, to prioritize the protection of students and school system employees from gun violence on campus by passing legislation that:
- More effectively regulates and restricts access to firearms, especially by youth and those experiencing mental health issues, and urgently addresses access to firearms capable of quickly producing mass casualties.
- Prohibits possession of firearms on school grounds except for use in a program approved by the school, and except by a person who is authorized by the state to carry a firearm who is specifically assigned to or hired to improve safety on that campus, such as a school resource officer.
- Provides funds, above those needed for basic building maintenance and improvement, for capital improvements shown to increase safety and security.
- Funds public health research on issues related to gun violence.
- Advances mental and behavioral health supports, including funding for more counselors and mental health specialists and an acknowledgement of their vital role on school campuses.
Adopted by the governing board at a meeting held on March 22, 2018.
Mrs. Nancy Case
Governing Board President