Since the school shooting in Broward County, SPFT educators have overwhelmingly expressed solidarity with the educators, students, families, and community members who are standing up for gun control.
While Education Minnesota and both of our national affiliates have put out statements condemning proposals to arm teachers, it bears repeating: more guns in schools will not solve the problem of mass shootings. If politicians were serious about making sure all of our students and educators are safe, they would invest in our schools, not in more firearms.
We should be funding more school counselors, psychologists, and social workers to address students’ social and emotional needs. We should lower class sizes and provide the necessary resources to build relationships with students and their families. We should have elected leaders who will stop underfunding our public schools and instead support our students and our educators.
At our membership meeting on Monday evening (2/26/18), SPFT members supported the actions taking place around the country to support stricter gun control, including here in Saint Paul. Members present unanimously passed a proposal calling on SPFT leadership to extend an offer to the district to work together on a joint statement supporting the student protests planned in a couple weeks.
Below, you’ll find information about upcoming days of action, responsibilities in the event of a student walk-out, and suggestions for ways you can support gun control laws. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to one of your SPFT officers or organizers.
Dates to Know:
The following events are all national actions in support of gun control, and all of these events are all student-centered. We want to make sure that we are listening to and elevating the voices of students in Saint Paul and around the country as they are taking political action.
- March 14: Enough! School Walkout – Students around the country – including at some secondary schools in Saint Paul – are planning walkouts in memory of the students and staff who were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to push elected officials to enact gun control. Walkouts are scheduled to be 17 minutes long, lasting one minute for each person killed in the Florida shooting. Educators are encouraged to wear orange to support gun control.
- March 24: March for Our Lives – Sponsored by Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety and led by Minnesota students, on Saturday, March 24, Minnesotans will rally at the Minnesota State Capitol from 10am – 12pm to pressure lawmakers to stop gun violence.
- April 20: National Day of Action Against Gun Violence – On the anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, people around the country will stand up against gun violence. Organized by NEA, AFT, and national gun control groups, this is a national day of action. (We’ll have more information about how SPFT is going to participate closer to this date. If you have any suggestions, please reach out to union leadership.)
Responsibilities at Educators:
The National Education Association has put together a two page handout outlining your rights and responsibilities as educators when students are planning walk outs. If you still have questions, reach out to Nick Faber (email@example.com) or Mike Asmus (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In short, unless the district authorizes a walkout or you are on your lunch break, educators are not permitted to walk out during a work day. If students in your building are planning on walking out, the most helpful thing you can do in your building – especially in secondary schools – is to make sure building leadership has a plan to ensure that a walkout goes as smoothly as possible.
SPFT is currently talking to the school district about ensuring that walkouts planned by students are safe and students feel supported. We will update you when we have more information.
What Can You do at Your Building?
All SPFT educators are encouraged to think of ways to support the call for an end to gun violence. Check in with your building steward or Contract Action Team member to see if any actions are being planned at your building.
Also, make sure to keep SPFT leadership and organizers informed about actions taking place at your buildings. We want to be supportive and helpful; let us know if you need any signs, hats, or other supplies.