San Diego Unified partners with City Attorney for Gun Violence Prevention Week

Posted: Friday, February 14th 2020


The voices of students, parents, and community leaders have been clear - and they have been heard.

Across San Diego, residents of all ages have spoken out against gun violence: enough. Hearing this call, San Diego Unified is building upon existing efforts to educate families and help reduce the effects of gun violence on our community.

On Tuesday night the Board of Education took up the issue of gun violence once again, unanimously passing a resolution to underscore a recent city ordinance. The law requires all residents to safely lock or store firearms inside their residences. San Diego Unified school leaders will now contact parents to make them aware of the legislation.

City Attorney Mara Elliott introduced the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance last year, which was enacted by the City Council in September. At Tuesday night’s Board meeting, Elliott spoke on the importance of spreading the news of the safe storage law to families in the district.

“With the Gun Violence Prevention Week resolution, you are educating families about not only following the law, but providing our children with necessary protection against gun violence,” said Elliott. “I’m extremely grateful for the potential to partner with you, because my law does nobody any good if we can’t get the word out.”

Board Vice President Richard Barrera said he hopes relaying the information to families will reduce the number of gun violence cases, whether they’re accidental or intentional.

“This is an incredibly important effort because we know that a large percentage of tragedies that are a result of gun violence happen because young people have access to firearms from their own homes,” said Barrera. “We know this has resulted in tragedies ranging from suicides to accidents to the tragedies we’ve seen when a troubled young person has access to a firearm and brings that firearm to a school.” 

Board Trustee Sharon Whitehurst-Payne shared her personal story of a time when she said a young family member found an unsecured gun in her home years ago. “My husband had been in the military and had weapons, and I did not know about it. And my six-year-old nephew came to visit and he found a gun and he came to me and said, ‘Auntie, look at this.’”

At a Tuesday morning press conference at the district’s headquarters, Superintendent Cindy Marten said tackling the issue of gun violence has to be a joint effort. “Just as every school district in the nation must take the issue of gun violence seriously, all of our families must be serious about preventing gun tragedies in the home.” 

Last year, to commemorate the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida, lesson plans were designed in San Diego Unified classrooms to explore how gun violence affects different communities in different ways, such as higher rates of homicide in urban areas and higher rates of suicide and unintentional shootings in rural areas.

Resources:

City Attorney’s Letter to Parents: English  Spanish

Asking Saves Kids (ASK) Letter: English  Spanish

"What is Family Fire?" Letter: English

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