EHS Students Demand Action Club - Gun Safety Message
Dear EWSD Community,
Essex High School’s Students Demand Action Club and I share similar concerns regarding the importance of gun safety. In efforts to keep our schools and communities safe, I am supporting their efforts in bringing awareness and reminding our families of gun safety practices. Please read their message below.
Dear EWSD Families,
Ensuring that students and staff in the Essex Westford School District have a safe educational environment remains one of our top priorities, and as we move into this coming break we want to remind you of a few ways to keep our community and schools safe.
Studies of all types of school-based gun violence across decades all point to the same significant point of intervention -- addressing student's unauthorized access to guns in the home. For example, a recent Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center study of targeted school violence incidents from 2008 to 2017, found that 76 percent of the firearms were obtained from the home of a parent or close relative.
Unsecured guns in the home pose a risk to students beyond gun violence in schools. Every year, nearly 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. That’s roughly one unintentional shooting per day. More than 600 children die by gun suicide each year, and 86% of gun deaths in Vermont are suicides.
In the overwhelming majority of these incidents, the gun used was one that belonged to someone in their home. As COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of our lives, we have to realize the stress and isolation this spurs in our children, and take extra steps to ensure their safety and the safety of their peers.
Research has shown that secure firearm storage practices are associated with up to an 85 percent reduction in the risk of self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries among children and teens. In order to protect our children from firearm tragedies, we must secure all firearms that may be present in our homes.
In the interest of protecting our community and schools we urge you to do the following:
Unload- Gun owners should remove ammunition from the firearm, including removing any chambered rounds.
Lock- Unloaded firearms should be secured with a firearm locking device, such as a jacket lock or in a locked location, like a safe or lockbox. Locking devices, safes, and lockboxes are equipped with keys, combinations, or biometric technology that limits access. The Essex Police Department, and other Police departments, will provide gun locks for free upon request.
Separate- Ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm in a secure location.
Storing firearms securely protects any child in the home as well as students throughout the school district and community. You can learn more and download helpful resources; including a secure storage fact sheet, talking to your children about guns, and facts and resources on child firearm suicide, at BeSMARTforKids.org/resources.
Thank you so much for keeping our community safe and have a great winter break,
EHS Students Demand Action Club