What You Can Do About Guns in Schools

Monday, February 26, 2018
From NYSUT President Andy Pallotta: We want to take a moment to update you on actions being planned across the country to protest gun violence in our schools. Earlier this week, President Trump held his first in a series of listening sessions around this topic with students, parents, and others impacted by school violence.  In this event, President Trump called for arming teachers with concealed weapons.  NYSUT came out in strong opposition to this idea.
Below is a list of planned events around the country for the coming weeks:
  1. March 14th - the Women's March has announced a National School Walkout.  The idea behind this day is that school communities will walk out of their schools for 17 minutes to honor the lives lost in Parkland.  We, together with AFT and NEA are encouraging educators to wear orange on this day.
  2. March 24th - Students from around the country led by the students from Parkland will converge on Washington DC to call for an end to gun violence against our students and educators on school campuses. This is truly a day of student voice and NYSUT will be working on ways to elevate the voice of students.
  3. April 20th - NYSUT is supporting the National Day of Action against Gun Violence in Schools.  This day will have communities across America engage in actions that will bring attention and force changes necessary to end gun violence in our schools.  This day might include a day of community service, a town hall meeting with students and elected officials or even in-district meetings with your members of Congress.  The list of coalition partners continues to grow showing the interest on the ground to take a stand against gun violence.  We are encouraging locals to design the event or action that works best for you. More information is available on our website.
Questions have arisen about what educators can and cannot do to support the emerging student movement.  This attached legal advisory from NEA addresses those questions.  If you intend to participate in or encourage student participation in any activity during normal working hours that would be considered a disruption and impact the way in which the school day would normally operate, that must be done in coordination with the district administration.  Otherwise, members are at possible risk of a Section 210 violation and/or disciplinary action, as their well-intentioned protest actions could be considered an illegal strike under the state's Taylor Law.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.