City legislators and school leaders told the PRESS of Southeast Queens that New York City’s schools are working with the city’s Police Department to review safety protocols to prevent the type of mass shootings that have plagued communities across the nation. Also, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a renewed focus on “active shooter” drills in the five boroughs that would prepare students for such incidents.
We agree with the above proposals and take comfort in the fact that the NYPD and city’s Education Department recognize the need to step up safety initiatives in the wake of mass shootings, such as the one that claimed 17 lives in Florida in February.
But we also agree with Queens students, educators and elected officials who have noted that school safety drills, while important, are not nearly enough to end this scourge. Every person we interviewed for a story this week on how city schools are responding to the threat of mass shootings said that the only sensible way to drastically cut down on such incidents is to enforce stricter gun control.
In an editorial we ran last week, the PRESS of Southeast Queens praised the students who have already taken a stand against the National Rifle Association and the politicians whose pockets are lined with their donations. Several Queens students told us that they intend to lead walkouts and marches in the months to come. We applaud their courage and resolution.
During the past week, the usual suspects came out against stricter gun control. Meanwhile, some of the comments that Queens students made to us included: “We shouldn’t have to go to school thinking, ‘Oh my God, am I going to get shot at?’” and “It’s scary going to school.” This is not a normal way for children to feel when attending school.
One bright spot during the past week is the number of businesses—from airlines to banks—that have pulled their support of the NRA. Also, this week, Dick’s Sporting Goods—a business whose ads the PRESS of Southeast Queens dropped several years ago due to its gun sales—announced that it would no longer sell assault-style weapons.
But much more needs to be done. We agree with a Queens student who told the Tribune, “The solution can’t be just thoughts and prayers. This feels very urgent.”