National PTA President Leslie Boggs issued the following statement on the shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tenn.:
“National PTA and all PTA members nationwide are deeply saddened to hear of the shooting that occurred today at Austin-East Magnet High School. As more and more schools across the country have and are continuing to reopen for in-person instruction, parents should not have to fear for the safety of their children due to senseless gun violence. More must be done immediately to protect our nation’s children and families. We cannot wait any longer.
“Year after year, PTA members advocate for sensible gun safety and violence prevention policies that will help keep children safe. Our association believes policies and legislation must:
- Fund research on the causes and effects of gun violence on youth and communities, as well as evidence-based strategies to reduce gun violence.
- Establish education programs to teach students, parents and community members about gun safety and violence prevention.
- Require a waiting period and a comprehensive background check for all individuals prior to purchasing a firearm.
- Restrict internet gun sales, including kits that can be used to make and modify guns.
- Ban access to military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.
“Limiting access to firearms and assault weapons and strengthening background checks can and will save lives. Common-sense legislation must be enacted today to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.
“PTA members are first and foremost advocates for the safety and well-being of all children. We encourage everyone to get involved in our efforts to protect every child. Our association has developed resources for parents to ensure schools are safe and supportive places for their children, as well as tips on how to talk to their children about violence.”