On Wednesday, a slew of schools in the greater Maryland area signed onto an open letter in response to recent incidents of mass gun violence, most notably at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Including, as it turns out, the private school that currently counts the youngest son of the president of the United States among its student body ― Barron Trump's school signed a gun control open letter, urging President Donald Trump to back gun control measures, and to reject the idea of arming schoolteachers that he's floated in recent weeks.
Barron, 11, enrolled at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland last year, a private K-12 institution about 20 miles from the White House. Back in May of last year, first lady Melania Trump announced Barron's new school in a statement, expressing her pleasure that he'd be attending such a good school.
"We are very excited for our son to attend St. Andrew's Episcopal School," Melania said, as detailed by CNN. "The mission of St. Andrew's is 'to know and inspire each child in an inclusive community dedicated to exceptional teaching, learning, and service,' all of which appealed to our family. We look forward to the coming school years at St. Andrew's."
In the open letter published on Wednesday, dozens upon dozens of schools asked "our President, our Congress, and our state leaders" to take action on new gun reforms, and flatly opposed the notion of putting firearms into the hands of teachers. Here's what it said, in part:
We urge our president, our Congress, and our state leaders to enact specific, rigorous measures to reduce gun violence in our society, particularly in our schools. We need a robust system of registration and background checks, with a particular eye toward weapons capable of rapidly firing a vast number of deadly shots. We need stronger mental health services and more effective communication among agencies responsible for the well-being of children, adults and families. What we do not need is to arm our teachers with guns, which is dangerous and antithetical to our profession as educators.
The letter was signed by, among many others, Robert Kosasky, the head of St. Andrew's Episcopal School. Notably, the school that the former president's children attended also signed the letter ― namely, Sidwell Friends School, which Sasha and Malia Obama attended during their father's presidency.
In addition to specifically calling on the president to act ― a somewhat tricky subject for a school that's the president's youngest son is actively attending ― the letter also said changes are needed to make "everyone in every school around the country" feel "safe," and to allow "our teachers to be able to teach."
In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, Trump has made a number of controversial statements regarding guns, including proposing that some teachers be armed, and suggesting that he personally might have stormed the school unarmed to stop the shooter.
The Stoneman Douglas High School shooting took place on Feb. 14 ― Valentine's Day, as it happened ― and 17 people were slain in the attack, including 14 students and three members of the school's staff. On March 14, the one-month anniversary of the shooting, teens and schoolchildren across America walked out of their classes in a remembrance of the victims, as well as in a show of support for gun reforms. In fact, the opening paragraph of the open letter published by The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday concluded with the same phrase the protesters were using: never again.
"As adults and educators, it's our time to lead," the letter said. "With those student activists, and with their grieving families, we too say 'Never Again.'"