'No more moments of silence': Dozens of Milwaukee educators rally against gun violence
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Tears flowed through the rain Wednesday as Milwaukee educators talked about their students' lives and their own lives after yet another school shooting.
Educators and students returned to their classrooms Wednesday for the first time since the Texas mass shooting. Then later in the afternoon dozens of educators gathered to rally for political solutions to gun violence.
They say they're desperate for change for themselves and their children, and they demand it before the next shooting happens.
Siena, a Riverside University HS student, spoke at the rally and said, "Kids are dying, they didn't even get to live their life yet."
College graduates also see it, like Tess Murphy, a member of March for our Lives Marquette. She said, "Something needs to be done and if it can't be done after mass school shootings, then I don't know when it will be done."
And the youngest children see it, too. Student teacher and recent Marquette graduate Lucy Corrigan said, "Kids asked me today in class 'did you hear about that thing that happened in Texas?' And I said I did. So having those conversations are really hard."
The rally in the rain begged for an end to the destructive impact of gun violence.
Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore told the crowd, "These are tears, millions of tears that are being cried today."
Congresswoman Moore said they were tears for 19 babies and two teachers killed in Uvalde, tears for Sandy Hook and Buffalo, and tears for future child victims.
She said, "What I hate the most about representing y'all, is standing up on the damn floor in one of the moments of silence. No more moments of silence y'all."
Dozens of people pleaded for sensible gun laws and more mental health counselors that could help save children and educators from being murdered in school.
Amy Mizialko, the president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, said, "The 5 million educators in this country know what it's like to go back into a school the next day and face our students who asked them today if this is going to happen to them."
But the educators do not want to be armed. Mizialko said, "Absolutely not. It is absolutely unsafe. It is not a sound road to go down in any way. Educators cannot and should never be armed in their classrooms or schools."
When asked if it was time to reconsider removing Milwaukee police officers from schools, she said, "Milwaukee police officers should not be inside of our schools. We do need the support of the Milwaukee Police Department in our communities, but our schools need to be fully, safely, and securely staffed with educators. That includes safety assistants. And that includes counselors and social workers."
Mizialko said of the Uvalde shooting, "They were forced to identify some children with DNA evidence. That is something no parent or family should ever have to go through. And we don't have to. We can take measures to be safer in our own country and we can take measures to ensure our students and educators are safer in schools."
Arnitta Holliman, the director of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention, acknowledged it's a nationwide issue that touches too many people. She said, "I am sick of the headlines of children being murdered, whether it's in a school or a home or on the street."
Holliman added, "Prevention on the front end, these things help us so we don't have to stand here in these moments, have these conversations, and we don't have to have lines of caskets driving through our city filled with children."
But children especially are being affected. Brigid Hughes, a member of March for our Lives Marquette, said, "Especially being in Milwaukee, where we do have so much gun violence, it is scary. And I can't imagine what that's like for younger students as well."
Tess Murphy said, "You see kids being prepared now to barricade their own classroom doors, and the responsibility is being put on the children." She added, "I don't want to say I'm hopeless, because I'm mad and there is hope still."