BAR HARBOR — A statement expressing “grief and outrage” over the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and demanding the enactment of gun safety laws was adopted unanimously Monday night by the Mount Desert Island Regional School System Board.
“Gun violence is the leading cause of death for American children and teens,” the statement reads. “Since the start of 2022, there have been 27 school shootings and more than 200 mass shootings.
“This is a public health crisis with known effective solutions… Common sense gun safety legislation is the most effective way to prevent another Uvalde or Parkland or Sandy Hook.”
The school board’s statement says 90 percent of Americans support background checks for gun purchases and that a majority support “red flag” laws that keep guns out of the hands of people who are thought to pose a serious threat to themselves or others.
The school board’s statement also says there should be limitations on who can buy certain types of firearms based on age and history of violence.
“Turning schools into formidable and unwelcoming fortresses is not an effective solution, nor is it compatible with providing an excellent education for all students,” the school board said.
“Ninety-five percent of American public schools drill students on lockdown procedures. These are traumatic and distressing for students and staff. Yet, there is almost no research affirming the value of these drills for preventing school shootings or protecting the school community when shootings occur.
“Arming school staff is equally ineffective. Having a gun in the classroom increases the likelihood that a student will access a gun and that someone will be shot outside of an active shooter incident. Schools are places for wonder and curiosity, books and backpacks, not weapons.”
The school board said school staffs work hard to address bullying, help students and families access mental health and other services and perform threat assessments.
“These are all important parts of school safety,” the board’s statement reads. “However, until Congress passes gun safety legislation, schools will be limited in our ability to keep children safe.”
Mount Desert Elementary School Principal Gloria Delsandro thanked the school board for issuing the statement on gun violence.