A day after a gunman left 19 students and two teachers dead at a Texas elementary school, officials in the Chicago area are discussing the tragedy in schools here, and students are demanding action on the part of lawmakers.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez hails from San Antonio, which is 80 miles east of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, where Tuesday’s horrific shooting took place.
He says that students in CPS schools will discuss the tragedy in a sensitive and productive fashion.
“We will be providing our educators and school leaders with guidance for responding to this tragedy and in ways that recognize and honor the victims while protecting the social and emotional well-being of our students,” he said.
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In numerous school districts around the area, talk about the shooting was also coupled with increased security. Mount Prospect police spent more time in and around schools on Wednesday, while Joliet police say that an increased presence will be observed in its city’s schools for the remainder of the year.
At Oak Park River Forest High School, students marched for change, staging a protest on the day after the shooting to call on lawmakers to enact new legislation to help keep children safe.
“My generation is growing up with a new kind of terrorism: the Virginia Tech kind. The Sandy Hook kind. The Parkland kind,” one student said.
“How many more people have to die before changes are made,” another asked.
Illinois lawmakers, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker, have called on the federal government to enact legislation to prevent further tragedies, something President Joe Biden echoed in his remarks about the shooting.
Even still, such legislation faces a long road in Congress, with the Senate unlikely to take up the legislation amid opposition from Republicans and a small group of Democratic lawmakers.