AOS #91 Response to Gun Violence

Mount Desert Island Regional School System
Office of the Superintendent of Schools
P.O. Box 60 
Mount Desert, Maine 04660
207-288-5049 / 5040 Fax: 207-288-5071
15 June 2022 
The horrific shooting murders of 19 fourth grade children and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas filled our hearts with grief and outrage. Tragically, this was not an unprecedented event. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for American children and teens1. Every day, more than 
110 Americans are killed with guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded. Since the start of 2022 
there have been 27 school shootings and more than 200 mass shootings2.
This is a public health crisis with known effective solutions. As adults tasked with educating and protecting schoolchildren, we must demand immediate action from our elected officials. Common sense gun safety legislation is the most effective way to prevent another Uvalde or Parkland or Sandy Hook. A majority of Americans, including most gun owners, support gun safety legislation. 90% of Americans support background checks3. These commonsense gun safety solutions also include extreme risk (red flag) laws and limitations by age and history (i.e. felony or domestic violence conviction) on who can purchase certain firearms. We implore our Congressional Representatives to act immediately. 
Turning schools into formidable and unwelcoming fortresses is not an effective solution, nor is it compatible with providing an excellent education for all students. 95% 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 ineffective4. 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. 
Educators work to ensure our schools are welcoming and affirming places. They seek tirelessly to address bullying. Staff help students and families access mental health and other services and perform threat assessments. These are all important parts of school safety. However, until Congress passes gun safety legislation schools will be limited in our ability to keep children safe. 
1 "Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents in the United States," New England Journal of Medicine, May 19, 2022,, DOI:10.1056/NEJMc2201761 
2 Jaclyn Diaz, "27 School Shootings Have Taken Place So Far This Year,", May 25, 2022. Also see Gun Violence Archive, 

3  "Guns,"; Victor Agbafe, The Vast Majority of Americans Support Universal Background  Checks. Why Doesn't Congress," Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, Frank Newport at Gallup, American Public Opinion and Gun Violence. April 2, 2021, H.R.8 - Bipartisan Backv-ound Checks Act of 2021, House vote March 11, 2021, H.R.1446 - Enhanced Background Checks Act of2021  Pew Research Center, Key facts about Americans and guns, Sept. 13, 2021 
Quinnipiac University Poll, Majority Support Stricter Gun Laws, Ouinnipiac University National Poll Finds: Stark  Divides On Views Of Police And Voting Issues, April 15, 2021  Morning Consult, Voters Are Nearly United in Support for Expanded Background Checks, March 10, 2021 Washington Post, Americans of both parties overwhelmine.l support 'red flag' laws, expanded background checks  for gun buyers. Washineton Post-ABC News poll fmds, Sept. 9, 2019. 

4  James H Price and Jagdish Khubchandrian, "School Firearm Violence Prevention Practices and Policies:  Functional or Folly," Violence and Gender, Vol 6, No. 3, September 10, 2019, halkboard/201 8/02127 /there-are-wavs-to-make-schoo ls-safer-and­teachers-stronuer-but-thev-dont-in vo Ive-guns/ 
https://doi.or!!ll0.1089/vio.2018.0044; Moore-Petinak, N., Waselewski, M., Patterson, B. A., & Chang, T. (2020). Active Shooter Drills in the United States: A National Study of Youth Experiences and Perceptions. The Journal of adolescent health: official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 67(4), 509-
513. 0l 6/j.jadohealth.2020.06.015
Reeping, P. M., Gobaud, A. N., Branas, C. C., & Rajan, S. (2021). K-12 School Shootings: Implications for Policy, Prevention, and Child Well-Being. Pediatric clinics of North America, 68(2), 413-
426. l 6/j.pcl.2020.12.005; Zullig K. J. (2020). Active Shooter Drills: A Closer Look at Next Steps. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 67( 4), 465- 466. httrs:// jadohealth.2020.07 .028
Michael Zboray, Superintendent of Schools 
on behalf of the Mt. Desert Island Regional School System - AOS #91 School Board