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After Shootings in Their Schools, Principals Meet With Federal Leaders for Reforms

Washington, DC—The Principal Recovery Network (PRN), a national network of school leaders who have experienced gun violence in their schools and led in the aftermath, met with members of Congress and the Biden Administration on June 12 and 13 to ask for policies to prevent and heal from shootings. Attendees included the current and former principals of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the former principal of Columbine High School. The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) supports the PRN.

“Decades after our horrific tragedy, our deep wounds are still healing,” said Frank DeAngelis, former principal who led Columbine High School through the 1999 tragedy and founding member of the NASSP Principal Recovery Network. “After years of supporting schools in the aftermath of shootings, we know firsthand the critical need for long-term resources and trauma-informed policies. The policies we’re asking for will provide sustained support to help communities like mine truly heal and stop senseless acts of violence from shattering more lives.”

The PRN’s advocacy continues during a critical moment. There have been 20 school shootings in 2024 that resulted in 34 injuries or deaths, according to an Education Week analysis. Moreover, “NASSP’s 2022 Survey of America’s School Leaders and High School Students“ revealed that the majority of school leaders (58%) and students (53%) are concerned about gun violence. The PRN’s legislative agenda, which calls for mental wellness, school safety and learning supports for students and educators is a critical component of preventing and healing from violence.

“Students and school leaders are immensely grateful for the PRN’s advocacy and sacrifice,” said Ronn Nozoe, CEO of NASSP. “Each member has lived every principal’s greatest fear. Despite this, they continue to show tremendous courage and selflessness by guiding their peers through these tragedies and advocating for systemic change. We are honored to support their work and ask that our federal leaders join them in collective action to end school shootings once and for all.”

Nozoe praised the agencies for their partnership with the PRN. “We are grateful to the Biden Administration for opening their doors and truly listening this week. From the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Domestic Policy Council to the U.S. Departments of Education, Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, officials have demonstrated a unified commitment to preventing future school shootings and supporting impacted communities' recovery."

Founded in April 2019, the PRN seeks to assist the next principal who endures a shooting by reaching out directly to their colleagues to provide much-needed support, share the combined wisdom of their experience with the larger principal community through various outlets, assist schools during recovery and advocate for national school safety enhancements and violence prevention programs. In 2022, the PRN published its “Guide to Recovery,” a collection of best practices to assist school leaders in the aftermath of shooting tragedies.

 

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