SACRAMENTO, Calif.- - Sixty-One California Teachers of the Year have put their names on paper. The educators have collectively penned an "Open Letter to President Trump," in an effort to oppose arming teachers, call for tighter gun control, and expansion of the accessibility of mental health services, according to a California Department of Education news release.
"Students should never have to wonder where a gun is hidden or worry that a teacher might make a mistake and shoot them," the letter states," "We need more mental health services, smaller class sizes, more counselors, more nurses, and more training in how to effectively deal with students in crisis."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the letter's release today. In addition to touching on mental health services, teacher armament, and gun control measures, the letter touches red flag laws.
"The letter urges states to follow California's example by creating gun violence restraining orders, also known as Red Flag Laws, which allow family members and the police to ask a judge to remove weapons and ammunition from a relative who poses a threat," the release reads.
California enacted its red flag laws in 2014, and recently, quite a few other states are looking to follow suit.
"I hope there comes a day that I am not anticipating a lockdown every time a schoolwide announcement is made. A day that I am not considering if it is safer to keep my kids inside or evacuate whenever the fire alarm is activated. That I am not contemplating if my classroom walls can stop a bullet," said Brian McDaniel, a 2018 California Teacher of the year from Desert Hot Springs."The time to act is now."
McDaniel, who is the director of bands & choirs at Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, is one of the educators pulled from a pool of 295,000 California teachers as a Teacher of the Year. The selection process is completed following a "rigorous process of applications, interviews, and classroom visits," according to the news release.
The release ended on a note of caution, reminding schools to be prepared for the worst case scenario and update their school safety plans.
Noticias en español: Telemundo 15