The Memorial to Fallen Educators, located on Emporia State’s campus, was rededicated today as the first national monument in Kansas. Representatives from Parkland Florida and other schools where shootings took place attended to show their support and to call for #NoMore school shootings.  

“Although we are adding ten more names (to the memorial), we still say ‘No more,’” said Kenneth Weaver, Dean of the teachers college and professor of psychology at ESU.

Many used the rededication ceremony to call for action.

“There should be no greater priority than making our students and our educators (safe),” said Jeff Longbine, state senator. “I urge lawmakers at the local, state and national level to make school safety a priority.”

Mark Schreiber, state representative, took the time to tell the story of Jim McGee, of Goddard, Kansas, who was killed in a school shooting.

“The names on these walls should inspire us,” Schreiber said. “(If they could still speak,) they would tell us to take a stand for what is right...Let’s not only remember these names, but let (these names) inspire us (to take action).

Both Schreiber and Longbine thanked Carol Strickland, director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, as she headed up the memorial project. According to Debby Chandler of the National Education Association, they are fundraising for a third book to add to the memorial and already have two names for it.

Stephanie Hope, brought a dreamcatcher which was made by a Pottawatomie woman and presented to the survivors of Columbine in the 90’s. Since then it has traveled to nearly every major school shooting, before the students at Parkland decided to retire it here.

“The idea is that it will never travel again,” Hope said.

The dreamcatcher is meant to be a healing gift made of willow and will represent hope for a better future.

The rededication was also attended by representatives from the state and national government, ESU administrators and community members, mostly wearing yellow ribbons to show their support.

According to Weaver, Governor Jeff Colyer could not attend the event because he was attending funeral services for public servants.

“I cannot think of a better place to locate the memorial then next to the National Teachers Hall of Fame on Emporia State’s campus, which has been known as a teachers college for many years,” said Danny Giefer, mayor of Emporia.

 

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