NEW YORK –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, responded to President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Connecticut education commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education and lead the Department of Education –– a department that will be instrumental in combating gun violence in schools.
“The Secretary of Education has two jobs: ensuring every child receives a quality education, and keeping them safe in school,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “As a parent and the president of a gun safety organization, I am eager to work with Dr. Miguel Cardona to prevent gun violence in our nation’s educational institutions.”
“No child should have to live in fear of gun violence in their school — but it’s a devastating reality for too many students in this country,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We believe that Dr. Miguel Cardona will be an ally to the gun safety movement as we fight to end this uniquely American epidemic.”
“Students across the country started a movement in response to the gun violence in our schools and communities,” said Makayla Jordan, volunteer with Students Demand Action and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “We are ready to stand with Dr. Miguel Cardona to create a future free from gun violence.”
The U.S. Department of Education has a major role to play in deterring gun violence in schools by supporting interventions that could stop gun violence before it begins. Evidence suggests that most perpetrators of gun violence in schools obtain the gun from their home or the homes of relatives and friends, so promoting secure firearm storage is an effective mitigation strategy. The Connecticut State Department of Education has shown how critical it is to address student access to firearms as part of a comprehensive approach to school safety. As Secretary of Education, Dr. Cardona can prioritize supporting interventions that prevent student access to firearms as part of a comprehensive school safety program.
For the last 20 years, American students, educators, and parents have lived with the reality of gun violence on school grounds, which has a disproportionate impact on students of color –– particularly Black students, who constitute 25% of K-12 student victims of gunfire, though they represent approximately 15% of the school population. A majority of teens fear a shooting at their school, and 95% of K-12 schools implement active shooter drills that evidence increasingly suggests may be harmful to students’ mental health.
View comprehensive recommendations from Everytown, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association to prevent gun violence in schools here. More information on how the Biden-Harris administration could combat gun violence through executive action is available here.