Teachers and students in New York City public schools wore Black Friday in memory of the victims of the Texas elementary school shooting.
The dangers of gun violence seemed all too familiar to many participants in the five boroughs, as they called for tighter school safety measures and mental health resources in all schools.
“We’re no strangers to gun violence and the deaths of young people,” said Ilona Nanay, a teacher at a Bronx high school. “We are frustrated that it takes a tragedy to draw attention to this because it is part of our everyday life here.”
“Many guns used in our neighborhoods are not bought legally – it’s not enough to stop selling guns,” she added.
The Soundview-based teacher had a discussion with her students today about the shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers, and how they can address the escalating gun violence in their own neighborhoods during the pandemic.
“They’re just very angry, they feel like the violence here has been normalized and forgotten and ignored,” Nanay said.
Demonstration organizers said attendance was widespread – including Ariela Rothstein, a history teacher in Elmhurst, Queens, who said she had “never seen this kind of reception before”.
“There’s a real sadness and a real anger,” said Rothstein, an organizer with the United Federation of Teachers, whose caucus has lobbied for a change in leadership of the teachers’ union.
Manhattan’s mother Kaliris Salas-Ramirez, who sits on the city’s school board, sent her son to Central Park East One in a black Nets T-shirt and attended a virtual vigil at East Harlem School last night. The child is 10 years old – the same age as the children who died.
The latest on the Texas school shooting
“It’s hitting us close to home,” she said.
The protest came days after Mayor Eric Adams held a news conference in which he brought to the table new safety measures, from adding non-invasive mobile gun detectors to buildings to locking school doors once children arrive.
In Texas, the school gunman marched through an unlocked door held open by a teacher, The Post reported.
The Department of Education did not respond to an immediate request for comment on new safety measures at the school, including whether schools’ front doors were locked this week.
After the shooting, teachers and school staff worked with students, but some said they felt powerless.
“Our nervous systems are overworked, and it’s hard to even react or be sad,” said Shoshana Brown, a school social worker at the Seward Park campus on the Lower East Side.
“That — competing with the end-of-year pressures of getting our students to complete their final projects, finish their school year, and end up with a strong grade — it was very difficult to meet all of those competing demands.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/nyc-teachers-students-wear-black-after-texas-school-shooting/ NYC teachers and students don black attire after Texas shooting