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Educators welcome White House spotlight on gun violence epidemic in America

NEA continues call for a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to keep students and schools safer

WASHINGTON - January 05, 2016 -

President Barack Obama today hosted a meeting at the White House to shine a spotlight on the epidemic of gun violence in America. The president also announced several executive orders aimed at keeping more Americans safe from senseless gun violence.

The National Education Association continues to advocate for a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach which includes increasing access to mental health services, providing safe and secure learning environments for all students, and taking meaningful action on gun violence prevention. The new Every Student Succeeds Act provides significant new opportunities for comprehensive school mental health services and efforts to improve school climate.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García attended the White House meeting and issued the following statement:

“The gun violence epidemic has reached a fever pitch in America. Almost daily, promising young lives are cut short, leaving behind others who are permanently affected by the violence around them. Every member of the NEA grieves when students and educators are victims of senseless, horrific violence. We grieve for the parents who have lost children, and we grieve for the families of the educators who time and again – from Newtown to Paducah to Midland – put themselves between bullets and their students.

“We applaud President Obama for shining a spotlight on the impact of gun violence in America. We especially welcome the president’s targeted approach to prevent further gun violence and save lives, including his executive order to expand background checks that could make a difference in preventing gun purchases by dangerous individuals; and his call to further invest in and improve mental health treatment for individuals who need it. We stand with the president to protect our students and communities from further harm, pain and needless violence.

“Our students and communities deserve commonsense laws that protect our safety—and that starts with ensuring that guns don’t end up in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. We agree with the president that anyone who wants to purchase a firearm should go through a background check, whether the transaction takes place online, at a mom and pop shop or large business.

“We look forward to working with the White House and other interested key stakeholders to ensure that we never again have to grieve the loss of children and educators to senseless gun violence. It’s going to take all of us to work together to make America safer for our children. We urge Congress to follow suit and take immediate steps to address the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  202-822-7823,