school shooting

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she supports students who plan to demonstrate today against gun violence. School walkouts are planned across the nation at 10 a.m., including in New York state. It's an attempt to pressure lawmakers to act after the shooting that left 17 students dead in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Elia says school officials and teachers should work with students to make it a learning experience about civic engagement and what it means to be an active citizen in American.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A school safety task force met in Syracuse recently to discuss procedures that can prevent or reduce the damage of a school shooting. Teachers and students want to know how safety in schools can be improved immediately, before a longer list of recommendations is made in August.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, local leaders are convening a task force that will create a blueprint for school safety in central New York.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says a massive government failure played a part in the Parkland tragedy.

“Parkland was a blueprint for government disaster," FitzPatrick said. "Ineffectiveness of almost every institution in Parkland that was designed to protect children in Parkland failed."

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The head of the state’s largest teachers union said arming teachers won’t make schools safer, but he said schools should have more protection. 

Andy Pallotta, president of New York State United Teachers, said he’s heard from teachers since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school, and many have expressed alarm about the idea of arming teachers.

“And to put an additional burden on them,” Pallotta said. “I don’t think our teachers would want this.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Protests outside of central New York Republican Rep. John Katko’s Syracuse office have been ongoing this week, including a rally on gun control. Following last week's high school shooting in Florida, some of the protesters were teachers who said Katko is doing nothing to fix the problem.

The effects of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December that killed 26 children and staff, lingers in the psychological community. It's one reason Syracuse University's psychology department is hosting a panel discussion Monday night focusing on different aspects of the psychology of school violence. One presenter is worried how this tragedy could end up further stigmatizing mental illness.