Mass shootings at schools began making national news headlines in April 1999, when two teenage gunmen shot and killed 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado. Then there was the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut in 2012, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida in 2018, and another mass shooting in Uvalde, Tex., in 2022, and numerous others.
With these tragedies in mind, the East Hampton School Board on June 6 voted 6-0, with one member absent, to pass a resolution in support of national gun control measures.
The resolution was read aloud by Jackie Lowey, a board member whose term is expiring on June 30, and who has lobbied many times during her 12-year tenure for sensible gun-control laws. It acknowledges the school district’s recent safety and security audit, as well as its efforts over the last several years to improve mental health services for students, but says that the board “believes strongly that none of these efforts can be fully effective in ensuring the safety of our children and staff without action by the nation’s elected officials to enact reasonable and effective gun control measures.”
“Now therefore be it resolved,” it continues, that the district “calls upon our elected representatives at every level to support and actively work to advance a comprehensive strategy to protect our nation’s and our community’s children and families from gun violence, including, at a minimum, enacting a national ban on the sale of military-grade weapons to civilians, requiring universal background check laws for purchase of guns, and strengthening red flag laws.”
“The time for action is now,” the resolution continues. “We, as a nation and as a community, cannot stand by as innocent children and adults continue to be slaughtered by guns,” it concludes.
CNN reported in March that gun violence has surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death in children 18 and under, with about five deaths for every 100,000 children in 2020 alone. “In no other comparable country are firearms within the top four causes of mortality among children,” the network reported.
East Hampton joins the ranks of school districts large and small that have approved similar measures over the last decade, including those in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and many more.