Time for action

Opinion: Editorials

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Students in middle schools and high schools across the country will walk out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. today – to differing degrees of accommodation by school officials – to protest the at one time unimaginable reality of American schools being turned into slaughterhouses by deranged people allowed to possess firearms.

It's no surprise that students have been motivated to respond to these shootings, all too often carried out with weapons more appropriate for the battlefield. The days of fire and tornado drills have given way to active-shooter scenarios.

That America's adults have allowed this transformation to take place is unconscionable. That it is easier to buy a weapon of war than it is to get a driver's license or even to vote in some states is obscene.

And while we're glad that none of the school districts serving the Landmark area is actively looking to discipline students who want to protest this abhorrent state of affairs, we're more than a bit perplexed by what appears to be a widespread policy for school districts – and to us that means the school boards who set policies – to avoid taking a "political" position with respect to the March 14 walkout.

School board members: The president of the United States on Sunday voiced support, again, for arming teachers. In some states, like Indiana and Ohio, armed teachers are already a reality in some schools.

This is where we are headed unless school boards stop cowering and take those political stands they so want to avoid, for some baffling reason, regarding turning schools into armed camps.

To somehow pretend that it is at all normal to accept inevitable gun battles between people wielding assault weapons and teachers packing heat while students cower under their desks is absolute lunacy.

What elected school officials need to do is demand that the organizations, like the Illinois Association of School Boards, which lobby for them at the state level, pressure legislators to enact strong, common sense gun control measures to help protect the students they serve and the faculty members they employ.

It's time that elected officials measure up to the children, who have drawn a line in the sand and are demanding the slaughter stop. Instead of worrying about whether students are back in class for fifth period, they should be locking arms with their students to demand action from the state and federal governments to do something, anything to prevent more shootings.

Until the adults get the courage of the students' convictions, it won't end.

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