Kids of All Ages Must Be Mindful of Any Conversations on Campus That Mention the Word Gun

On April 20, 2018, thousands of high school students across the nation participated in yet another widely publicized school walk-out.  Their mission: to protest gun violence and keep pressure on Congress to take swift legislative action to make our schools safer.   

It’s not surprising that, in light of tragic school shootings, as well rampant gun violence in workplaces and in our communities, teachers and school administrators are on heightened alert. And they’re hyper-aware of any conversations that even mention the word “gun.”

As a result of these elevated states of fear and vigil, we at SAGE have been hearing media reports about students being sent to the principal’s office, suspended or even expelled from school for having seemingly innocent conversations about the use of guns and gun ownership among family members. Depending on the level of punishment and whether the action taken by the school includes a written entry in the student’s records, the repercussions could be very damaging to a student’s future academic prospects.

To help diffuse the tension and prevent innocent students from receiving unjust, derogatory remarks in their school records, we urge you to speak to your kids about this highly sensitive topic. It’s essential to let them know that there is zero tolerance for any remarks or even jokes that involve gun violence or any other threats against students or their schools.

Talk to your kids about the walk-outs, and what the participants are hoping to achieve through their activism. Find out what your child’s school policy is when it comes to participating in walk-outs and talking about guns.  Monitor your kids’ participation in violent video games and make certain that they understand how virtual violence can desensitize us to the devastating realities that occur when guns are brought to schools or places of business by people intent on doing harm.

Clearly, gun violence is a very serious issue in our society, and it’s going to be a very hot topic of debate — among victims, families, law enforcement, school administrators and government leaders for years to come.  Let’s keep the lines of communication open for everyone’s sake.