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Local educators and advocates call for systemic changes after a gunman killed Texas schoolchildren

Noelle E. C. Evans
As a mark of respect for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, President Joe Biden ordered that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff.

Local educators and children’s advocates are calling for policy changes to prevent future mass school shootings.

This comes a day after an 18-year-old man killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Mike Modleski, president of the Victor Teachers Association, said there needs to be a multi-faceted approach to interrupting violence in schools.

“It's not just about the school counselor, or just about the resource officer or just about the teacher in the classroom,” Modleski said. “If there are gaps in funding, or there's gaps in resources ... those are the times when we might miss something.”

Larry Marx, CEO of the Children’s Agenda, said a national gun control policy is essential to prevent more mass shootings.

“All of us need to hug our children a little tighter today and into the coming days,” Marx said. “But more than that, we need to rise up and take action on this public health crisis to prevent the easy transmission of guns.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth violence is a serious public health problem. Homicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people between 10 and 24 years old.

It is preventable, though, the CDC said. It has developed a package of strategies to help communities reduce youth violence.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, New York state education Commissioner Betty Rosa, Chancellor Lester Young, and the Board of Regents called on Congress to pass gun safety laws.

“We must invest wisely in school security measures. We must continue to offer guidance to schools and parents as we work to support all students' social, emotional, and mental health needs,” they wrote. “And we must continue to work with our elected representatives to enact commonsense gun safety measures to prevent mass shootings.”

Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small said in a social media post that the district is providing supportive resources to students and teachers this week.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to maintaining a safe and nurturing environment for our scholars,” Myers-Small wrote. “I am asking that our school communities be vigilant and report any suspicious activity at or around school grounds immediately by calling 585-262-8600.”

The massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, happened 10 days after an 18-year-old white man killed 10 Black people and wounded three others in a racist attack at a Tops grocery story in Buffalo.