In a speech to the National PTA Convention meeting just outside Washington, D.C., on Friday, First Lady and working teacher Dr. Jill Biden addressed the number one topic on educators’ minds: keeping kids safe from gun violence in their own classrooms.
Dr. Biden, who has worked within the education system for nearly 40 years and currently teaches English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, said she often imagines the terrifying scene of a school shooter playing out in her own classroom. Wondering aloud if her students would be the next “heartbreaking headline,” the First Lady urged parents and teachers to speak up and demand that Congress pass tougher gun safety measures.
The First Lady told the PTA Convention that she explains to her students on the first day of class how they can escape “if the worst happens” and acknowledged that Congress “did not act after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Parkland,” referencing some of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. “Nothing changed, and nothing will change unless we change it.”
For 125 years, the @NationalPTA has been a champion for our nation’s students.
The partnership of parents and educators is powerful — because when it comes to mental health, learning resources, or safe schools, we see what’s at stake every day in the eyes of the people we love. pic.twitter.com/uoufkUKDiC
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) June 17, 2022
Dr. Biden accompanied her husband to both Buffalo, New York, after the Tops Friendly Market massacre and Uvalde, Texas, where she and the President were photographed pausing at each of 21 altars set up for the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre that took the lives of 19 children and two teachers. She described touching the photos of the “bright, beautiful faces that would never again laugh or open birthday presents or tell their parents that they love them.”
.@FLOTUS at National PTA Convention: “As a teacher, I’ve imagined that scene in my own classroom again and again. At the start of each semester, I explain to my students what they should do if the worst happens.”
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosa46) June 17, 2022
“And I laid down white roses on a sea of colorful flowers, the offerings of a town broken by grief, just as I had done in Buffalo, New York, one week before,” the First Lady said.
“I've wondered over the years if my students would be the next heartbreaking headline …Congress did not act after Columbine, …Sandy Hook, …Parkland …There are no excuses. It's up to Congress to act.”
— First Lady Jill Biden at the National PTA 125th Anniversary Convention pic.twitter.com/S07QAXvz8u
— The Recount (@therecount) June 17, 2022
Watch Dr. Jill Biden’s full remarks to the National PTA Convention, below.
President Biden has called for a range of gun safety measures, including reinstating a long-expired ban on the type of assault-style weapons that were used in the New York and Texas shootings.