Richmond teachers present plan to end school gun violence | #schoolsaftey

RICHMOND, Va. — This school year will be remembered as one of horrific violence and tragedy, according to the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators (VCORE). The teacher’s union wrote those words this week after a student and his father were killed outside Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony.

VCORE has since declared ongoing gun violence an “emergency situation” impacting Richmond schools.

Even before the Graduation Day shooting, Richmond students, teachers, and school staff have endured violence including students shot in school parking lots and school bus stops.

In a new statement, VCORE wrote teachers “refuse to accept the diagnosis of these outcomes as inevitable” and demanded city leaders prioritize funding to address root causes of gun violence.

“Honestly, it’s a multi-layered effort and approach that is going to be required for us to move forward,” Richmond School Board member Nicole Jones (9th District) said. “I don’t think we have all the answers.”

Some solutions VCORE proposed include:

  • Implementing gun violence intervention programming that focuses on a small percentage of people responsible for a majority of violence
  • Revamping education to allow internships and job skills for students
  • Funding behavior specialists, social workers, and psychologists in schools.

“These are not things that can just be funded in a vacuum, and so until we really approach it from that systemic level, it’ll be hard to just say, Oh, you can prioritize this or prioritize that,” Jones said. “I do think that the counselors and some of that work is being done in collaboration with the community. And so I think that’s a good first step, but we need to do more.”
Jones said she supported these initiatives, but that the board could not do this alone.

“I think as a board we have done as much as we can to prioritize wellness, safety, and all those issues,” she said. “However, with the shortages of resources, that should not preclude students from getting what they need on a regular basis.”

Jones said more money was needed from both the state and federal governments.

She said she wanted the public to know the solutions to the problems are complex.

“We can’t look to one group of people to solve it,” she said.

VCORE called on Richmond leaders to treat this crisis as an emergency.

They said the city’s funds belong to the people of Richmond and the people must demand the allocation of those funds to protect the public.

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