In school districts throughout our Nation, including Turlock Unified, our 24-year-old first grade teachers straight out of college are having exceptionally courageous conversation with their 6-year-old students. Those conversations include “What are you supposed to do when someone comes through our classroom door with an assault rifle intending to slaughter us all?”
In Turlock we are spending millions to put perimeter fences around our campuses. We are spending hundreds of thousands to install security cameras district wide. We, like school districts throughout our nation, are full-court press on policies and practices and training and drills and courageous conversations and everything else we need to do to make our schools successful battlegrounds. Battlegrounds…
Mr. Denham, we have a problem. We have an epidemic of people dying from bullets piercing their flesh, plain and simple. It is not just in schools; it’s at concerts and it’s in workplaces and it’s on Main Street, Turlock.
Mr. Denham, this is a nationwide epidemic and we elected you to represent us on this stage. You are failing in this regard; you were representing us when 20 children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary and you have not been courageous enough to try to stem this epidemic.
Mr. Denham, there is no single solution; it’s certainly a blend of security, mental health, enforcement, adults doing their jobs, and yes, laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who intend to use them as weapons against the innocent. I want to emphasize the last piece because it seems to be the hardest for you and your colleagues to discuss.
Mr. Denham, we need you to have courageous conversations that intend to keep guns out of bad people’s hands. You are a lawmaker; we need you to support red-flag legislation. We need you to support reasonable background checks against national databases that includes warnings on mental health concerns. We need you to support laws that prevent people like Nikolas Cruz from being able to purchase and retain weapons because I do not want one of our schools to be a successful battleground. And most of all we need you to support funding for all of these initiatives, including school security and tending to the mental health issues our nation is facing.
Mr. Denham, if you need some support and a role model for those courageous conversations I can help coordinate a visit for you to observe one of our first-grade teachers talking to his or her 6-year-old students about what they are supposed to do when someone comes through their classroom door with a gun intending to slaughter them all.
Mr. Denham, we need you to put country over party, because what you are doing is not okay.
— Barney W. Gordon, parent, citizen, voter, and trustee - Turlock Unified School District