US education chief calls for action to stop school shootings

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WASHINGTON – Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on Thursday he was ashamed that the United States was “being insensitive to the killing of children” and that action was now needed so that more lives were not lost in school shootings, such as That in Uvalde, Texas.

Cardona spoke on the House Education and Labor Committee after a two-day hearing when a gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle broke into an elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers. The massacre that followed the killing of 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store earlier this month has rekindled the debate over gun control.

On Thursday, committee chairman Bobby Scott, D-VA, began the hearing by observing a moment of silence in memory of those killed in Texas.

While the hearing was on the Education Department’s budget and priorities, Cardona began his testimony by addressing the shooting.

Cardona said, “After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Parkland, after each of these and other massacres, we as teachers did our best to look in the eyes of the parents and assure them that we are their Will do everything to protect the children.” School shootings in Colorado, Connecticut and Florida.

But he said all actions taken in response to those first fatal school shootings — including active shooter drills, online early detection tools and more secure building entrances and perimeters — are “no match for what we are up against.”

Giving no details, he said “we need to act now” to protect America’s children. “Let’s not normalize it,” he said. “Let’s use every influence we have to make something happen to help prevent this from happening again.”

Cardona didn’t go up to his boss, President Joe Biden, who said in an emotional address on Tuesday, “When in the name of God are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”

The Democratic president previously called for a ban on assault-style weapons, stricter federal background check requirements and so-called red flag laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental health problems.

The fight over guns is largely divided along party lines. Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a domestic terrorism bill that would have started a debate on gun safety.

Scott, in his opening remarks, called school shootings in the US “too common for an incident”.

“We could have prevented a lot of this if elected leaders valued children and families more than guns,” he said. “Instead, from time to time, Congress has failed to implement any sensible or widely supported resolutions to respond to these tragedies and prevent another from happening.”

Representative Virginia Foxx, the ranking Republican on the committee, said her prayers were with the victims of the Uvalde school shooting, their families and the community, but warned against a quick rush to action.

“We need to be thoughtful about how we discuss and handle school safety and mental health issues,” said Foxx, of North Carolina. “Federal changes should not be made in haste.”

More information about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings.

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