Reacting to the lethal shootings at Newtown, Conn., the Ridgewood Board of Education passed a resolution Monday night calling on federal legislators to combat gun violence while providing more mental health services.
The resolution is as follows:
WHEREAS, since 1979 118,000 children have died from gun violence in America – more than double the amount of American deaths from the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and in the past 25 years, our nation has experienced almost forty K-12 school shootings that have resulted in 111 student and 26 staff member deaths;
WHEREAS, in light of recent events and these unacceptable long-term statistics, schools are now also being asked to increase security while our budgets are capped and/or reduced by cuts in state and federal aid; WHEREAS, we need better gun control and more mental health services for students and families provided to our schools and our communities;
WHEREAS, mental health resources are historically undervalued and have dwindled due to a lack of financial support, reduced state and federal aid; WHEREAS, there have been reductions in the numbers of teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists, administrators and reductions in programs that address the social and emotional needs of students;
WHEREAS, state and national education officials and political leaders need to ensure that student safety and mental health services receive as much priority as student performance on tests, new teacher evaluation systems and other mandates placed on schools;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Ridgewood Board of Education, in the County of Bergen, State of New Jersey, urges our state and national political leaders do the following:
Provide adequate funding to schools and communities to ensure that the appropriate level of mental health, social and guidance services and resources for the purpose of prevention, support and response are available to all of our children;
Restore and increase community funding for youth and school resource officers (SROs) for stronger school-community partnerships; deny individuals convicted of violent crimes – misdemeanors or felonies – even when these crimes were committed when they were juveniles, from ever being able to purchase or own a gun;
Deny individuals with mental health issues from ever purchasing or owning a gun; reinstitute the ban on the sale, import, transfer and ownership of assault weapons; require every person purchasing a gun to have a background check and end the ‘gun show loophole’ that enables 40% of gun purchases to be made without background checks; impose significant punishments on irresponsible gun dealers.