A minute’s silence was observed Tuesday at a meeting of the Jamestown Public School Board for the victims and their families of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Photo PJ by Eric Tichy

Jamestown School Board President Paul Abbott has called for a moment of silence for the victims and their families of the Uvalde, Texas shooting.

Tuesday’s school board rally was the first since 19 students and two teachers were fatally shot on May 24 by an 18-year-old at Robb Elementary School.

Abbott, in remarks lasting about four minutes, noted that no other country sees the number of mass shootings, especially in schools, than the United States. He implored state legislators to finally address the accessibility of guns and body armor.

“We have to ask ourselves as a country, why is this happening here and not elsewhere?” Abbott asked near the end of Tuesday’s school board meeting. “I don’t think it’s a complicated answer. I will use this platform tonight to encourage our political leaders at the state level. … It’s just absurd that these things continue to happen in this country. It’s absurd that people have access to military-grade body armor. I was a policeman and didn’t have a military grade bulletproof vest. The assault weapons that we allow people to own and we allow people to sell…”

Abbott alluded to new gun control measures recently enacted in New York. Among them, raise the age from 18 to 21 to be able to buy semi-automatic weapons.

Abbott also had a message for politicians who do not support the measures: “For the politicians who cannot make changes to this and our mental health system, I would ask them to stand in a classroom with second and third graders and their parents and explain to them why it is more important that people have access to this stuff than to protect it.

The school board president says discussions about guns and their accessibility should have stopped after Columbine, referring to the April 1999 shooting at a Colorado school that killed 12 students and one teacher.

“That should have been enough when Columbine arrived, even though that was many years ago,” he said. “That’s just enough.”

Abbott said asking for more school resource officers is likely not an immediate option, both because the school district just passed its next budget and because of a likely shortage of available officers. Instead, he said the school board should consider bringing in more “red shirts” staff who provide additional levels of security to school buildings.

“As a board, we need to have discussions about this in the very near future,” said Abbott.



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