COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Education Association, the Union representing over 4,500 educators in Columbus City Schools, issued the following statement today in response to recent violence in Columbus neighborhoods spilling into schools:
As the 2022-2023 school year draws to a close, educators and students in Columbus City Schools have a lot to celebrate. The many accomplishments of students and staff are particularly impressive given the backdrop of adversity faced by every member of our school community this year. In particular, the reality is that not a week has gone by in our District without school staff grieving the loss of a student to gun violence, a lockdown due to shootings in a school neighborhood, or the discovery of a weapon on or near campus.
Our Union calls upon local and state leaders to acknowledge that the conditions of our neighborhoods, and the schools that serve them, are not accidental but the result of policy choices. A half-century of disinvestment, segregation, and wealth extraction by the wealthiest cannot be simply shrugged off with calls for personal responsibility. The systems must change. Those with power must have the courage to change them.
CEA acknowledges that city leaders may not, in the current political environment, convince Ohio state legislators to pass common-sense gun safety regulations. However, this is no excuse for inaction. The crisis of affordable housing, lack of public transit, dismantling of our social safety net, a broken criminal justice system, racial and economic segregation, proliferation of poverty wage jobs, and decades of disinvestment and school closures- all of these underlying issues can and should be addressed by legislation.
Only by addressing our city’s longstanding systemic problems can we truly create safe communities and safe schools. We call upon our leaders to listen to the voices of community stakeholder groups like the Columbus Education Justice Coalition (CEJC), and get to work.
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The Columbus Education Association is the union representing over 4,500 teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and other education professionals in Columbus City Schools. The Columbus Education Association is a proud affiliate of the Ohio Education Association and the National Education Association.