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Teachers Unions Condemn Lawmakers After Texas School Shooting

May 25, 2022, 4:34 PM

Teachers unions swiftly condemned lawmakers’ lack of action on gun control following the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

Zeph Capo, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that certain state leaders “need to accept a deep dose of culpability” for not doing more to prevent gun violence.

“It is devastating to have to ask the same question again and again: ‘When are we going to take the commonsense actions needed to help stop the slaughter of our children and their teachers where they should feel safest—in our schools?” Capo said. “This insanity must stop.”

Capo stopped short of calling for specific gun control legislation, but criticized softer efforts to prevent gun violence.

“We don’t need another round table of safety experts. We don’t need more active-shooter drills,” he said. “We need legislation that addresses some of the most basic requirements for ensuring that unstable people don’t take the lives of our children and teachers.”

His remarks echoed national AFT President Randi Weingarten, who said the shootings in Uvalde and in Buffalo, N.Y., earlier this month were “designed to terrorize us all.”

“Gun violence is a cancer, and it’s one that none of us should tolerate for one single moment longer,” Weingarten said in a statement. “We have made a choice to let this continue, and we can make a choice to finally do something—do anything—to put a stop to this madness.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz Tuesday night suggested that adding more armed law enforcement to schools would keep children safe.

National Education Association President Becky Pringle and Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina were quick to call for stricter gun laws.

“Tragedies like this one keep happening while elected officials do nothing; except, in Texas’ case, make firearms more available,” they said in a joint statement Tuesday.

The Association of Texas Professional Educators, an independent advocacy group for educators, said it would continue to press to to make schools safer.

“We remain steadfast in our desire to work with school leaders and lawmakers to ensure all educational settings are safe and secure environments where students, school employees, and volunteers can be productive,” ATPE Executive Director Shannon Holmes said in a statement.

—With assistance from J. Edward Moreno and Jalen Brown

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Kullgren in Washington at ikullgren@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloombergindustry.com; Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com