We witnessed yet another school shooting, this time in Texas, leaving a toll of 19 children and three teachers dead. This is the 14th school shooting after Columbine with a total of 169 children and teachers dead since then.

We perfectly know how to minimize this type of shooting from happening. But yet our dysfunctional and non-democratic Senate won't act to protect the lives of human beings, not even children. It is not rocket science. You have to ban the purchase of military-style weapons that can kill dozens of people in one round. Also, it is urgent to establish background checks to buy a gun as well as mandatory licenses and training.

Gov. Phil Murphy quickly reacted by sending law enforcement to schools. It is clear by now the ineffectiveness of having resource officers in schools. They only carry handguns, while shooters carry AR-15s. I am not suggesting that officers carry military-style weapons. Not at all. Prevention comes with legislation and restrictions, not more police or more guns. The Texas school shooting demonstrates that police presence does not prevent a person with an AR-15 from killing students. The Texas elementary school has its own police, with several resource officers and security guards.

Montclair's police department sent more police officers to schools. Police presence could make students even more uncomfortable and uneasy for several reasons, and I expect police officers to be removed from Montclair school buildings. I am not sure why people in general have this false sense of security with police presence; I definitely feel the contrary. As I said many times, programs like restorative practices in schools help avoid children feeling they don't belong, feelings that can trigger violent actions from a young person. The one thing that can protect us all is federal legislation, but it seems that children's lives are not good enough to pass that. Sad.

Do not militarize schools. Police officers don't prevent shootings from happening. Increase the budget for social workers in schools and focus on building a regional coalition for gun restrictions. In the meanwhile, we need to continue cleaning the Senate of white old men whose only interest is to protect their seats at the expense of children's lives. Vote them out. Vote in every election.

Maria Eva Dorigo


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