Students' Bill of Rights for Safer Communities
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Students, teachers, and school staff members from all around the nation convened at the Student Violence Summit in Washington D.C. October 19-21 to create and ratify a Students’ Bill of Rights that addresses gun violence and safer schools and communities.
This Bill aims to protect students, teachers and their communities and prevent gun violence by offering solutions to the many issues students see in and out of school that give way to gun violence.
Show your support, and your commitment to reducing gun violence, by signing on to the Student Bill of Rights for Safer Communities.
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From: [Your Name]
We, the students standing against gun violence in America, come together to address that this gun violence is destructive, intersectional, and preventable. In coming together to address how gun violence pervades our schools, homes and communities, we deem that institutions, leaders and policy makers across the country have an imperative to adopt comprehensive measures to prevent this unnecessary violence.
Together we must…
1. Establish a school safety committee whose meetings are open to the public at every school equally composed of students, parents and faculty.
2. Provide immediate access to qualified counselors in safe spaces for students of all demographics at all levels of education.
3. Encourage all school personnel to foster positive relationships at all levels of education.
4. Provide professional development around mental health awareness and interventions for students, parents and faculty.
5. Require cultural competency and de-escalation trainings each quarter for law-enforcement provided by the local police department in conjunction with equity training organizations and companies.
6. Implement equitable funding to traditionally under-resourced schools specifically allocated for after school programs open to students and youth under 25 in the community year-round.
7. Support marginalized communities by educating and recognizing systemic and institutional oppressions, as well as implement programs that remedy the inequities for those marginalized communities.
8. Allocate sufficient funding for mental health programs including, but not limited to, school-based safety and security initiatives; violence intervention programs; healthcare services, including counseling and mental health evaluations, to be provided by a trained racially and culturally diverse team of mental health professionals.
9. Reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and illness by educating students and faculty on mental health; establishing support networks such as peer counseling; creating pathways for anonymous reporting, identification and intervention of at-risk youth based on mental health and Alternative Childhood Experiences (ACE) evaluations.
10. Require all gun dealers, sellers and owners to report stolen guns; prohibit the sale under the National Firearms Act (NFA) of semi-automatic military style weapons that fire velocity rounds, bump stocks and other accessories that alter the original firing capacity of a firearm.
11. Require universal background checks before all gun purchases; eliminate loopholes by connecting local, state, and federal databases of prohibited purchasers; require a minimum mandatory waiting period of 10 days to purchase a firearm; and raise the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 with exceptions for responsible training, like military service.
12. Promote responsible gun ownership by requiring safe storage policies and modeling gun licensing after drivers’ licensing (i.e. application, testing, etc.).
13. Invest in reducing gun violence by funding Center for Disease Control (CDC) research.
14. Ensure people who pose a heightened risk to community safety, such as domestic abusers, don’t have access to guns by allowing extreme risk protection orders where family members, law enforcement, mental health professionals, educators, intimate partners and former intimate partners can petition the court to disarm the abuser.