LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Following a string of threats made to Michigan schools, more than a hundred educators and parents rallied on Tuesday for tighter gun control and more mental health resources in schools.
Teachers and activists said they are tired of seeing headlines of school shootings and the anxiety that one day, a lockdown drill becomes a real threat.
One man said he wants to see lawmakers take action and give teachers a voice.
“We can’t just keep legislating schools into fortified areas. We really have to talk about the risk that are out there in our society that are impacting schools. We need legislation for that. What we really hope is that educators get to go to the table and talk about our experiences and what some real solutions would be,” said President of the Lansing Teacher’s Association Chuck Alberts.
He was one of the dozens of people standing in front of the capitol as lawmakers made their way home. He said the goal was to remind legislators of the real people affected by school violence.
One parent said she’s concerned about rifles falling into the wrong hands and wants a ban on AR-15s.
“It doesn’t matter if they are being sold to a rifle gun owner, a safe person now. We’re going to continue to see this happen, we’re going to see it happen more because these guns are going to end up in the hands of people who are not safe to handle them,” said parent Julie Hubbard.
Her demands were echoed by one mid-Michigan teacher.
“I feel like AR-15s should not be in the hands of civilians because that’s what has been killing our kids across America and it’s not okay at all. Kids should not die, killing should not happen,” said teacher Stacey Cadogan.
But not all educators agree. Republican State Representative Brad Paquette began his teaching career in 2013 before being elected to the State House in 2018. He said getting students engaged both in and out of the classroom would help establish community and he believes that’s a better solution to gun violence.
“If someone really wants to cause harm, they will find a way to do that. And that’s part of a deeper discussion, which is a cultural issue, is why did this kid get to this point and what can we in society do to assist in that matter to at least be more aware of that young person’s ill intentions because they are plugged into something,” said Paquette.
When it comes to current legislation in the capitol that would require safe storage of guns, Paquette said he’s not on the committee reviewing it but does think every gun owner should be responsible for their weapon and isn’t opposed to harsher penalties.