As media outlets, Emporia State and citizens across the country wait for the news as to whether President Trump will sign a bill into law which will name ESU’s Memorial for Fallen Educators a national memorial, The Bulletin feels we must address the elephant in the room.

While the Memorial for Fallen Educators is a wonderful thing and these people should absolutely be honored, a great number of these teachers were killed by guns in mass school shootings. 

In fact, it was the mass shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that inspired the idea for the memorial.

And yet, ESU has yielded to the Kansas Board of Regents rules and allowed concealed carry on campus. 

Granted, while Faculty Senate did pass a few regulations to limit and discourage students, faculty and staff from concealed carrying on campus, our campus could have imposed far harsher regulations, or even pushed back against KBOR. 

As the campus that educates future teachers and houses the Memorial for Fallen Educators, a memorial that holds 126 names, we should be the leaders in starting conversations about how we prevent these deaths. 

This memorial is dedicated to educators who died while carrying out their duties while teaching, driving a bus or otherwise caring for their students. 

Educators are on the front lines, now more than ever. They are there through the whole event and are the students first line of defense, before even first responders can arrive.

These people have given their lives time and time again, saving our students, and it’s time we honor them.

We should honor these educators by having real conversations about the real threats to their lives. We should be discussing gun control and we should be leading and inspiring other universities, schools and boards to have these very serious conversations. 

This will be the first national memorial in Kansas and we should do right by it. 

If we don’t step up and start having these conversations and start being firm with our legislators, it’s only going to get worse. 

As gun rules get more lax in Kansas and across the nation, and the number of mass shootings rise, it is time to taking action. These are real peoples lives on the line. 

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