Dozens of teachers from Madison East High School marched from the school to the State Capitol today to directly ask lawmakers for more strict gun control laws.
“We know most of the people we lobby today will reject us, but we’ll give them the opportunity to do the right thing,” said teacher Kevin Attaway at a morning press conference.
Teachers and other gun control advocates around the country are mobilizing today on the 19th anniversary of the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The protests take on more significance than those in previous years as a number of school shootings have galvanized young voters and spurred nationwide protests.
“I started teaching in 1989,” 10 years before Columbine, said music teacher Peggy Garcia Boettger. “I remember safe schools. For ten years kids didn’t have locked schools, didn’t have code red drills.”
The group Educators for Gun Reform Now laid out five specific legislative demands: universal background checks and waiting periods to purchase firearms, a ban on bump stocks and similar devices, limits on the purchase of high-capacity magazines, raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic firearms to 21 and required training for the purchase of semi-automatic firearms.
The teachers and others in attendance spent the day speaking with lawmakers and ended with another rally outside the Capitol.
“My youngest child now worries about me going to school and it breaks my heart,” Garcia Boettger said. “If our lawmakers won’t help us, we need new lawmakers.”
The group made it clear that they’re not out to ban guns — even for those under 21, except for semi-automatic weapons.
“Those are the ones doing damage to our public schools,” said Madison East English teacher Amy Garvoille.
“There is nothing wrong with intelligent, responsible gun owners,” said Lori Marion. “I have nothing against a student hunting with their family in northern Wisconsin. I am not here to suggest to take any of those guns away.”
“I teach my students every day to stand up for themselves,” Garvoille said. “Now is the time for educators and citizens to show them a real-life example.