The National Academy of Education grieves deeply with the students, families, and educational community at Michigan State University. The shooting deaths of three students and the critical injuries sustained by five others is senseless and horrific.
While we mourn, we also have a moral duty to address the larger issues in the civic domain that contribute to the persistence of such violence in the United States. Our students, and our schools, deserve to be safe. That this shooting occurred just hours before the 5 year anniversary of the massacre of students in Parkland, FL testifies to how profoundly ubiquitous gun violence is in our country. No other high-income nation in the world experiences this level of gun violence. We have made little progress even after the horrors of the Sandy Hook murders over ten years ago or the Columbine High School mass murders in 1999. We must stop this madness.
Although mental illness may have contributed to this and other tragedies, it is important to keep laser-focused on the reality that it is access to guns that distinguishes the U.S. from other high-income nations in explaining its epidemic of gun violence. We can only address the persistence of such gun violence if we as citizens, as people living in the country, as organizations representing stakeholder interests, and in particular, those of us in education, are active and persistent in the civic decision-making process. We must remain constant in pressing our policy makers at local, state, and federal levels to use research-based approaches that can stop this violence. As educators and educational researchers, we must also continue to address how to organize schooling in ways that support the social and emotional well-being of students, educate them not to hate, and teach them to be active, thoughtful, and caring civic agents and human beings.