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An Apolitical Word About Student Action on Gun Violence in Schools

The Grauer School Leadership Team finds itself in a time of solidarity with concerned students and educators nationwide about an issue of ultimate importance to the lives of the students our schools strive to serve. Beyond democrat, republican or independent, school shootings in our nation are routine and unquestionably beyond national politics: 91% of the children killed by guns around the world are in the United States. Today, assault weapons in particular are used in a disproportionate number of mass shootings, many of which have targeted schools and, we can fairly predict, will continue to. Our leadership team includes members across the political spectrum; however, first and foremost, we are educators charged with nurturing and educating the next generation of Americans. We all believe the current tragic situation cannot stand and must be addressed with real action. It's been five years and 400 school shootings since the terrible Sandy Hook event, with no action yet.

Hence, our Leadership Team has crafted the following position in an effort to empower students to seek what they, as students coming of age, see as the best path forward. We believe student voices matter—a founding principal of The Grauer School. Teenagers fought in the American Revolutionary War. Teens signed the Declaration of Independence. Five school shootings per month in the United States—assault rifles, the weapon of choice. This is a uniquely, overwhelmingly American problem impacting the spirits and lives of this rising generation more than any other. We are listening to our students!

Grauer School Administrative Statement on Student Action

The Grauer School faculty and administration value student expressions as they develop their voices as well as feelings of compassion towards the students in Parkland, Florida, who have been through a horrific trauma, as have students at Columbine, Sandy Hook, and many other schools. We support expressions and reasonable student action in concert with The Grauer School's espoused school values and Mission Statement. We endeavor to value and empathically hear student perspectives within these core values. A walk-out in reverence to the school in Parkland is planned by many students nationwide, including by some students at Grauer. This walkout is scheduled for 10AM, March 14 (one month after the tragic shooting) and it coincides with our school's daily break time. Students may be on the perimeter of the school site. At school and during school hours, the faculty will provide close chaperoning for any student group petitioning from any reasonable perspective. At later dates, we anticipate that there could be other student proposals for action here or nationwide, such as on March 24, though none are expected to significantly impact academic progress.

We also include the statement issued by the National Association of Independent Schools below.

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Statement on Student Safety

Students have a right to learn without fear. Learning in a safe and healthy environment is a foundational requirement for a successful education. Yet in communities across the country, the fundamental promise to protect students has been fractured by gun violence. This must change.

As a national education association, NAIS empowers independent schools and the students they serve. The schools that belong to NAIS teach students to become informed and engaged citizens who contribute to their communities and to the larger society. As the nation considers how best to protect children, NAIS urges elected officials to take meaningful legislative and regulatory action now to support the safety and well-being of children. We also urge officials to listen to our students as they advocate for systemic change.

This is a problem that we can solve. The issues involved are complex, and many people have deeply held views on how to best address the challenge. But we must get started and refuse to let the complexities paralyze us. Only by working together can our nation's leaders, our schools, and our students bring about the change that's so vital to a secure future.

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