“There are no records of a massacre of this size hitting a school population outside a warzone since the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007,” says the General Secretary of Education International, Fred van Leeuwen, commenting on the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, yesterday, whereby twenty children and six adults lost their lives.
Van Leeuwen has extended the heartfelt sympathies of the international community of educators and school employees to the American colleagues and to the parents and families of the murdered children and adults. He also commended “our colleagues in Newtown, who made extraordinary efforts to bring children and staff to safety during the horrifying moments when the tragedy unfolded”.
“Schools should be safe places of learning and sanctuary, where children are encouraged to grow and develop to their full potential, not places of mindless violence in which their young lives are cut short. The fact that the massacred children were so young renders the situation all the more tragic,” said Van Leeuwen.
He recalled that “in 2009 Education International called upon the international community to declare schools safe sanctuaries to protect the safety and security of school communities everywhere, whether against attacks in areas of military conflict or against acts of violence by individuals.”
“In the past five years we have been confronted too often, and in too many countries, with senseless acts of violence against students, educators and school employees. Although it may not be possible to prevent every act of violence, public authorities of all nations should at least take measures to limit and regulate the access which citizens have to weapons generally and, in particular, enforce effective gun control.”
To read the full EI Statement on School Shooting in Newtown USA please click here.
To download the statement as PDF, please click here.