To spread safe gun storage importance, White House plans to engage school administrators

Michael Perchick Image
Thursday, January 25, 2024
White House to work with school leaders on safe gun storage
More than 3/4 of school shootings are committed with guns from the home, according to the White House.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Biden administration announced new plans to work with principals and educators in spreading a message about the importance of safe gun storage.

According to the White House, more than 3/4 of school shootings are committed with guns from the home, and 80 percent of firearm suicides by children involve a weapon belonging to a family member.

"If we know that the number one place that weapons come from with kids is the home, then the conversation needs to be directed to parents," said Kenneth Trump, a consultant who runs National School Safety and Security Services and believes the initiative falls short.

This new push involves school administrators connecting directly with students and their families in trying to address youth gun violence.

"While school administrators would agree that one gun is one too many, they are massively overloaded with their day-to-day responsibilities of engaging, supporting children and also teaching children," said Trump.

He believes there are more effective ways for the federal government to combat youth gun violence.

"The number one issue we hear as we're interviewing principals today, this week in schools is anxiety. So principals need to have the funding and resources to support the social, emotional, mental health needs of kids, (and) reasonable school safety measures, supportive measures with school resource officers, school psychologists, community-based agencies," said Trump.

Earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Charlotte where she announced North Carolina will receive $12 million to hire more counselors, funding which comes from the Safer Communities Act.

"There's a lot of these issues that are going on. Is this something that they're missing at home? Or missing from their everyday life," said Tim Prince, who works with the youth advocacy group Team Truth 919.

He emphasized the importance of guidance and mentorship.

"It's the de-escalation skills, it's conflict resolution. It's teaching them a better way, putting them in a position to win instead of in line to lose. (We're) basically letting them know that (what they see on) social media, (those) things that are going on are not real life," Prince said.

Prince, who applauded the White House's push to work alongside school administrators on this issue, further backed efforts for more after-school activities.

"The idle mind is the devil's playground. So what we want to do is do those extra activities to give the kids something to do to fill that gap. And you never know that might skyrocket them to the next level," said Prince.

Wednesday, the Center for Safer Schools, which operates under the Department of Public Instruction, announced $35 million in school safety grants for 230 districts across the state. According to a press release, the funds can "be used for safety equipment, training and services for students in crisis. Safety equipment covered by this grant includes items such as cameras, vape detectors, radios, and weapons detection systems. Training can include professional development for school leaders to assist students who are experiencing anxiety, trauma, and/or conduct problems. Services made available through this grant can include school-based mental health services."

ABC11 reached out to the Department of Public Instruction to learn more about the grants. As of publication, they have not responded.