LOS ANGELES (March 13, 2018) – The L.A. Unified Board of Education voted today to unanimously approve a resolution authored by Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, and co-sponsored by Board President Mónica García and Board Member Kelly Gonez, calling on state and federal legislators to enact stricter gun control laws, and calling on the District to form a collaborative task force with experts, teachers and staff, law enforcement, and parents and students to review and strengthen best practices at the District and school site level.
A corresponding petition has garnered almost 2,000 signatures in support of this resolution and the need for action at all levels of government to ensure that schools are safe environments, free from the prevalent threat of gun violence that has shaken the nation since Columbine, Sandy Hook, and most recently, Parkland.
“I am inspired by the student activists in Parkland, and across the country, who have raised their voices to demand action on gun control,” said Melvoin, who plans to meet with some of these students when they visit Los Angeles later this month. “If Congress is not going to act, then it falls to us at the District level to make sure that we do everything in our power to keep our students safe, and we will do just that.”
“We stand in solidarity with our youth, families and communities in calling for common sense gun control,” said Board President García. “No student should be fearful at school, and may the voices of our students bring about positive change to our nation on this issue. L.A. students continue to lead this nation in raising expectations of the adults in our time.”
Board Member Kelly Gonez, another co-sponsor said, “We join the students from Parkland and others from coast-to-coast who want to see common sense gun reforms that will keep weapons of war out of our communities. At L.A. Unified, all of us - from campus administrators, to office staff, to L.A. School Police, to classroom teachers, to our Board - are determined to keep our students safe. This resolution is a chance to seek expert input and identify ways we can strengthen our effort to keep our school communities safe from violence. ”
Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said, “Schools should be the safest places in our community because we serve the most precious and vulnerable citizens in our society, our children. I’ve dedicated my entire career to doing all that I can to ensure that every child in my care is protected to the best of my ability. I will continue to be vigilant as a Board Member to develop policies that protect all children who enter the doors of our schools.”
Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said, “My most pressing responsibility is the safety of our children and the security of our school communities. In addition to tough laws to limit access to guns, we need to acknowledge the need for increasing the number of highly trained and caring adults such as school psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, assistant principals, student supervisors, school police and safety personnel.”
Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez said, “The survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are continuing a longstanding American tradition of students confronting entrenched social issues with energy and determination. As compassionate people who care for America’s youth, we owe a response of equal energy and determination to the Parkland survivors, survivors of all other school shootings, the victims of all school shootings, the families that school shootings traumatize, and students growing up vulnerable to gun violence in places of learning.”
Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic said, “I served for many years in the United States Army - I know all too well the destructive power of the M-16 and its civilian counterpart the AR-15. There is no excuse for these weapons to be so readily available, just as sure that there is no reason those that suffer from mental illness or have a propensity to violence should have access to firearms at all. The lives of our students must not be sacrificed in the name of an out-of-control lobby.”
Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said, “We realize that many students have expressed a desire to join the Parkland survivors and families in communicating their feelings on the issue of gun control. We believe this can serve as an empathetic and teachable moment, allowing us to foster compassionate individuals who will become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Speakers were also present to provide varying perspectives on the need for gun control. They included the Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, California Teacher of the Year Kirsten Farrell, and multiple L.A. Unified parents and students.
Nick Melvoin is proud to serve the dynamic communities of District 4 as the Vice President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Nick’s election to the Board in May of 2017 follows a career fighting for our city’s schoolchildren. He believes that together, with the right leadership, we can ensure that every student in Los Angeles has the opportunity to succeed. Los Angeles Unified Board District 4 includes the communities of Brentwood, Del Rey, East Hollywood, Encino, Hollywood, Mar Vista, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista, Tarzana, Topanga, Westchester, West Hollywood, Westwood, Woodland Hills & Venice.
If you would like more information about this topic, please call Ally Salvaria at 213-241- 4259, or email at Ally.Salvaria@LAUSD.net.