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(March 8, 2018, Washington, D.C.) On behalf of members and the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today regarding the Association’s position on school safety:
“It is imperative to protect the safety of teachers and students in the classroom, as it is a fundamental right for children to go to school and learn and for teachers to teach without fear; the sanctity of the classroom must be preserved. Since Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been 239 school shootings; 438 people have been shot and 138 killed. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida and its students’ advocacy have reinvigorated an urgency in the national discourse to ensure safe learning environments across America.
AACTE’s mission is to lead the field in advocating and building capacity for high-quality educator preparation programs to ensure that teachers are profession-ready and prepared to meet the needs of every learner. As teacher candidates enter the classroom as teachers, they are expected to address an ever-growing list of responsibilities that define their daily work, which includes creating a safe learning community for all students. It is imperative that any solution keep the role of educators front and center and focus on maintaining the environments necessary for successful teaching and learning.
AACTE believes to effectively address school safety, our nation must examine national and state policies on access to weapons; maintain safeguards for Americans to engage in peaceful protest, as well as support students and educators who engage in appropriate civil action; and increase teacher, school, and community resources to appropriately address students’ mental and emotional health.
Education is the bedrock of our nation’s democracy and AACTE will fight for the rights of all students and educators to learn and work in safe school environments.”
Founded in 1948, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The 800 member institutions include public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation. Learn more at www.aacte.org.