St. Louis – American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFT St. Louis President Ray Cummings issued the following statement after two people were killed and seven others injured Oct. 24 in a mass shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. The gunman, a former student, was killed in a shootout with the police
“Our prayers and concern are with the students, their families and the staff after this tragic shooting, and we mourn the loss of our member. I have long dreaded the day that St. Louis would join the list of communities ravaged by school-based gun violence. And while our schools have managed to remain mostly safe spaces up until now, the reality is that the streets and communities of St. Louis have been plagued by senseless gun fatalities for too long.
“Our state has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, and today’s tragedy is a reminder that we must do far more to protect all Missourians and make our schools and our neighborhoods safe and welcoming.”
“First and foremost, we grieve the deaths of the victims of this tragic school shooting and pray for those who are injured. We thank the first responders for their quick and fearless action saving countless others.
“As more details emerge about today’s tragedy, the simple truth remains: The epidemic of gun violence in our communities is a public health risk to us all. Schools should be the one place where students, teachers and the entire educational community feel safest — yet today, another school has been ravaged by senseless violence.
“The time to talk about stronger, commonsense gun safety measures—including a ban on weapons of war—as well as mental health supports, is right now, while we grieve this horrific loss with the Central community.”