On Saturday, June 11, students and educators across the country will participate in “March for Our Lives“ in an effort to end gun violence. President of the NEA, Becky Pringle testified at the House Oversight Committee, speaking about the fight to end to gun violence epidemic and school shootings in America.
President Pringle spoke to Georgia Alfredas about her testimony at the House Oversight Committee, this weekend’s march, and asks a simple question: “What Are We Waiting For”
Read Pringle’s interview with Georgia Alfredas below:
Georgia Alfredas: It’s the Russ Parr Morning Show and on the line right now we have National Education Association President Becky Pringle, who actually testified at the Congressional Hearing on Gun Violence yesterday, actually on Wednesday, and your message, “What Are You Waiting For? So powerful. Thank you for that. And welcome to the show.
Becky Pringle: It’s so good to be back with you again.
GA: Yeah. So just a few questions. You know, in the wake of the Uvalde, and so many that came before it, what can we do to implement change?
BP: Can I just say that yesterday was such an emotional day, you know, we all went from gut-wrenching listening to survivors tell their stories and parents weeping after babies baring their children to doctors talking about the carnage. Did you listen to that, oh, my gosh, that’s the carnage, what it does to a baby, honey? And then outrage, honestly, outreach, that there were members of Congress would sit and listen to them, and then blame everyone except themselves for not doing anything. Right, saying that guns are more important than our kids. That’s what they were saying it was infuriating. But I will tell you that we’re not laughing. We are continuing to lift up our voices and lift up the voices of survivors, to center those voices to organize and rally around rallying and marching with the students on Saturday, not only here in D.C., but all over the country. And we will not stop until we get common-sense gun laws.
GA: So you know, there are some that are saying we need to arm the teachers and educational professionals. What, does the research show about that idea?
BP: You know, we’ve talked before and you know, I’m a middle school science teacher. So I just want everyone to think about that. That I middle school teacher teaching middle-level learners, I now will have the responsibility of getting a gun out from a safe storage place to stop the carnage. You know, by the time someone shows up with a military-grade weapon, it’s already too late. And to put that burden on educators, it’s horrible. We saw Mr. Ranson in the hospital crying, saying I couldn’t see my babies, I couldn’t see my baby. He already felt guilt and responsibility. Now we’re gonna say we’re arming teachers, and they’re responsible for trying to stop an assault weapon. That’s a distraction, you know it, from them doing your job.
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GA: I can, you know, I can hear the emotion and the anger in your voice. And it just, I mean, I get it, man. But how do we talk to our students about what when a tragedy like this happens? How do we talk to our kids? How do we talk to our students? How do we do it?
BP: It’s hard. I, you know, I didn’t realize this until a couple of days ago, you know, it’s been funny for years and the shooting in Columbine. 12 students and one teacher lost their lives and, and I was in my middle school classroom. And I have been teaching for 23 years. And I thought about that a couple of days ago and I remembered what happened when the kids came back to school and started asking me all these questions that Mrs. Sprinkle, would that happen here? We’re going to be safe? And I said the answer 23 years ago, that my colleagues are saying today, and they mustered all their strength and energy and I said, and there’s a moment now, we adults in this building will do everything we can to keep you safe. That’s what we say (inaudible), we say to them, and then we continue to have these mass shootings. It’s hard to continue to say that, but I tell you, we will continue to say that. Because we are continuing our fight to make sure (Inaudible) majority American support. They support, nobody wants an assault rifle available to be in schools, we know that just a few elected politicians are standing in the way of that they’re standing with the gun lobby instead of our kids.
GA: Right. I know you have, you know, places to go. And I’m so glad you took the time to talk to us today. Where can we go to take action? Or for more information? What can we do? Where do we go?
BP: Please text “now” to 48744. And there you’ll find a host of resources, you’ll be able to plug in no matter what stage or who you are classes in across this country, to where the action is happening and how you can take action. You can join us and rallies and marches. You can call your senators and members of Congress. You can talk to your neighbors You can do something everyone can and every month
GA: Thank you. Text “now” y’all 48744 Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us and thank you so much for your testimony yesterday
Learn more about this weekend’s march below:
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