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An Open Letter to the President and Our Nation’s Policy Leaders

 

As Heads of Schools, responsible for the education and physical safety of tens of thousands of children, we are heartbroken over the recent massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Sadly, we have too often seen senseless shootings cut short innocent lives. But the horrific dimensions of the Sandy Hook tragedy are so profound that we are compelled to rise up and say, “Enough!” As the recent events in Newtown and the scenes of other mass shootings teach us, the easy and virtually unrestricted availability of highly lethal, semi-automatic assault weapons and high-powered ammunition place our schools in jeopardy, most especially our children, the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

We implore you, Mr. President and our elected leaders, to do everything necessary to stem this tide of senseless gun violence. Commence and sustain a national conversation about guns and gun violence. Address, and ultimately deny, unrestricted access to weapons and ammunition that have no legitimate sporting or recreational purpose. Recognize that the proliferation of military-grade guns and assault-style ammunition leads to more gun violence and more gun deaths. The statistics are compelling and cannot be ignored.

The United States leads the world in the number of guns per capita; it leads in homicides, suicides and accidental deaths involving guns; and it leads the world in the number of children killed by and with guns, every year. In these grim statistical categories, no nation comes close to our level of violence and gun-related death.  The United States of America can and must do better.

Now is the time to take action. As educators, we believe in the United States Constitution, including the Second Amendment. We also believe our country need not choose between the protection of responsible gun ownership and the prevention of gun violence and that both can be achieved through thoughtful and forceful legislation.

Rarely before have so many school leaders spoken with one voice on behalf of a single issue. We are moved to do so out of a duty to our students and all of our nation’s children. We stand ready to help in this effort, and encourage our colleagues leading schools across the country to join us. Above all, we demand that reason and compassion prevail when it means protecting our society’s most vulnerable members.

We are heads of schools serving children from nursery through high school.  We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We are parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We are responsible for the education, safety and welfare of children each and every day, and we know the time for action is now.

 

Respectfully,

Bob Siebert, The Churchill School (NY)

 

Cindy Wasson 10th Street Preschool (CA)
Ellen Birnbaum & Shereen Rutman 92nd Street Y Nursery School (NY)
Roberta Palumbo Aaron School (NY)
Roanna Shorofsky Abraham Joshua Heschel (NY)
Marjorie Goldsmith All Souls School (NY)
David R. Trower Allen-Stevenson School (NY)
Lisa Eckstrom The American Boychoir School (NJ)
Chris Williamson Applewild School (MA)
Eric Feron Niles The Athenian School (CA)
Alexis S. Wright Bank Street School for Children (NY)
Nancy Glauberman Barrow Street Nursery  School (NY)
John W. Griffith Battle Ground Academy (TN)
Charles Fasano & Michael Dealy Bay Ridge Preparatory (NY)
Mitch Bostian The Berkeley School (CA)
Robert D. Vitalo The Berkeley Carroll School (NY)
Frank J. Carnabuci, III The Birch Wathen Lenox School (NY)
Alison Maher Boulder Journey School (CO)
Jane Foley Fried The Brearley School (NY)
Lydia Acchione Spinelli Brick Church School (NY)
Cheryl LaCost Brickton Montessori School (IL)
Judith Guild Brimmer and May School (MA)
William Phelps The British International School of New York (NY)
Larry Weiss Brooklyn Friends School (NY)
Stephen M. Clement, III The Browning School (NY)
Julia Harquail The Brownstone School (NY)
Gregory J. O’Melia The Buckley School (NY)
Kim McDonnell The Burlington Academy of Learning (CT)
Matthew Stuart The Caedmon School (NY)
Steven Nelson Calhoun School (NY)
Jack Lewis Cape Henry Collegiate School (VA)
Mike Hanas Carolina Friends School (NC)
Marsha Nelson The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine (NY)
Patricia T. Hayot The Chapin School (NY)
Molly Huffman Children’s Day School (CA)
Rob Connor Christina Seix Academy (NJ)
Kate Turley City & Country (NY)
Lee M. Levison Collegiate School (NY)
Richard J. Soghoian Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School (NY)
Renee Mease Columbia Greenhouse Nursery School (NY)
Avi Baran Munro Community Day School (NY)
Kimberly Tsocanos Connecticut Friends School (CT)
Joseph J. Ciancaglini Convent of the Sacred Heart (NY)
Michael Termini Cooke Center School (NY)
Thya Merz Corlears School (NY)
Bob Riddle Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (CA)
Ellen C. Stein The Dalton School (NY)
Gerri Chizeck The Day School at Baltimore Hebrew (MD)
Andrea Archer Derby Academy (MA)
Stephen Spahn Dwight School (NY)
Dave Michelman Duke School (NC)
Karyn Smith Early Learning Foundations Preschool (NY)
Paula R. Dashiell Echo Horizon School (CA)
Randie Benedict The Ellis School (PA)
Wendy Levey Epiphany Community Nursery School (NY)
Judith R. Blanton The Episcopal School (NY)
Damian J. Fernandez Ethical Culture Fieldston School (NY)
Ruth Summer Keller First Friends Pre-School (NY)
Kenneth J. Boller Fordham Preparatory School (NY)
Jane Camblin French-American International School of San Fransisco (CA)
Joël Peinado French American School of New York (NY)
William G. Morris, Jr. Friends Academy (NY)
Matthew Micciche Friends School of Baltimore (MD)
Robert Lauder Friends Seminary (NY)
Richard Marotta Garden School (NY)
Mary Cantwell & Natalie Williams Garden House School (NY)
Robert B. Cunningham The Gateway School (NY)
Rim An Hinckley The Geneva School of Manhattan (NY)
Donna Kennedy The Gillen Brewer School (NY)
Ralph Wales Gordon School (RI)
George Davison Grace Church School (NY)
Adam C. Rohdie Greenwich Country Day School (CT)
Peter W.E. Becker The Gunnery (CT)
Nicole Nash Hannah Senesh Community Day School (NY)
Valerie A. Myntti The Harley School (NY)
Michael Heath Heathwood Hall Episcopal school (SC)
Joan Z.  Lonergan The Hewitt School (NY)
Thomas M.  Kelly Horace Mann School (NY)
Angela Bergeson The IDEAL School of Manhattan (NY)
Donna Cohen The International Preschools (NY)
Rebecca Skinner International School of Brooklyn (NY)
Thomas R. Leto Iona Preparatory School (NY)
Mark Fish The Kew-Forest School (NY)
Christopher Brueningsen The Kiski School (PA)
Cécile Depraetere, Emmanuelle Benoit & Aurélie Boquet L’atelier (NY)
Anna Fiore La Scuola d’Italia “Guglielmo Marconi” (NY)
Ann V. Klotz Laurel School (OH)
Michael McCord The Learning Project Elementary School (MA)
Margaret Poggi LearningSpring School (NY)
Drew N. Alexander Leman Manhattan Preparatory School (NY)
Charles Douglas Baldecchi The Lexington School (KY)
Dede Proujansky The Lowell School (NY)
Tony Oroszlany Loyola School (NY)
Philip Kassen LREI (NY)
Sean Lynch Lycee Francais de New York (NY)
Pilar Cabeza de Vaca Madeira (VA)
Patricia Pell Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Day School (NY)
Gabriella Rowe The Mandell School (NY)
Michele Sola Manhattan Country School (NY)
Tsivia Yanofsky & Estee Friedman Manhattan High School for Girls (NY)
Julie Elam Marin Primary & Middle School (CA)
Debbie Zlotowitz Mary McDowell Friends School (NY)
Concepcion R. Alvar Marymount School of New York (NY)
Maureen Fonseca The Masters School (NY)
Brenda Mizel Metropolitan Montessori School (NY)
Behzad Dayanim MetroWest Jewish Day School (MA)
Harriet Safran Midwood Montessori (NY)
Phyllis Amori Millbrook Middle School (NY)
Julia Finney The Miquon School (PA)
Margaret Rourke Granados Montclair Cooperative School (NJ)
George W. Markham Montessori Academy (IL)
Henry Trevor Montessori Family School (CA)
Bridie L. Gauthier Montessori School of Manhattan (NY)
Dianne Williams Montclare Children’s School (NY)
Anthony Miserandino Mount Saint Michael Academy (NY)
David Bryan New Roads School (CA)
Paul A. Burke The Nightingale-Bamford School (NY)
Dave Mullen The Nora School (MD)
Christina K. Broderick Notre Dame de Sion School (MO)
Virginia O’Brien Notre Dame School of Manhattan (NY)
Bill Perrine Oak Meadow Montessori School (MA)
Brett Knupfer Ohlone Elementary School (CA)
Jeff Stroebel Open Window School (WA)
Bruce L. Dennis The Packer Collegiate Institute (NY)
Tom Little Park Day School (CA)
Manyi Wong The Park Slope Child Care Collective (NY)
Albina Miller & Leslie Thorne The Parkside School (NY)
Mark H. Murphy The Prairie School (WI)
Sarah Rotenstreich Preschool of the Arts (NY)
David Harman Poly Prep (NY)
Josie Holford Poughkeepsie Day School (NY)
Paul J. Shaviv Ramaz School (NY)
Tina McCourt Rebecca School (NY)
Philip G. Judge Regis High School (NY)
Leslie Hites The Renaissance International School (CA)
Theresa C. Lawrence Resurrection Episcopal Day School (NY)
Dominic A.A.  Randolph Riverdale Country School (NY)
Douglas M. Herron Robert Louis Stevenson School (NY)
Kimberly A. Morcate Rockland Country Day School (NY)
Paul Druzinsky Rodeph Sholom School (NY)
Marilyn D. Ruppart Rudolf Steiner School (NY)
David H. Feldman The Roeper School (MI)
Alan Sparrow Rowland Hall (UT)
Scott A. Nelson Rye Country Day School (NY)
Vincent Tompkins Saint Ann’s School (NY)
P. David O’Halloran Saint David’s School (NY)
Joseph M. Harvey Saint Mark’s School (CA)
Steve Morris The San Francisco School (CA)
Binyamin Krauss & Tully Harcsztark SAR Academy & SAR H.S. (NY)
Kolia John O’Connor Sewickley Academy (PA)
Ann Sullivan School of the Holy Child (NY)
Tom Cangiano Shady Side Academy (PA)
Nathan Pope Shu Ren International School (CA)
Brad Weaver Sonoma Country Day School (CA)
Ellanor N. Brizendine The Spence School (NY)
Leonard Conway St. Francis Preparatory School (NY)
Virginia Connor St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s (NY)
Mark Crotty St. John’s Episcopal School (TX)
Dick Heath St. Luke’s Episcopal School (TX)
Bart Baldwin St. Luke’s School (NY)
Whitney C. Slade St. Michael’s Country Day School (RI)
Michael G. Hirschfeld St. Paul’s School (NH)
Paul G. Geise Stanwich School (CT)
Zahir Robb STAR Prep Academy (CA)
Scott Gaynor Stephen Gaynor School (NY)
Lori Schneider Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Early Childhood Center (NY)
Paul Domingue The Storm King School (NY)
Patty L. Fagin Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (NJ)
Janet C. Rotter The Studio School (NY)
Nancy-Ellen Micco Temple Israel Early Childhood Learning Center(NY)
Anthony G. Featherston, IV The Town School (NY)
Pam Clarke Trevor Day School (NY)
John C. Allman Trinity School (NY)
Kathleen McNamara Tuxedo Park School (NY)
Salvador C. Uy United Nations International School (NY)
Sharon Lauer The Unquowa School (CT)
Mark Salkind The Urban School of San Francisco (CA)
Rosalind Hamar Valley Montessori School (VA)
Eve K. Kleger Village Community School (NY)
Marilyn Larkin The Village School (NJ)
Ronnie Moskowitz The Washington Market School (NY)
Patricia Werner Washington Montessori School (CT)
John W. Bracker Watkinson School (CT)
Matthew Bradley West Chester Friends School (PA)
Carrie Catapano West End Day School (NY)
Mimi Basso West Side Montessori School (NY)
Scott Moran Westland School (CA)
Serena Fine English William Woodward Jr. Nursery School (NY)
Amy Warden Williamsburg Northside Schools (NY)
Rachel Friis Stettler The Winsor School (MA)
James Seery The Windsor School (NY)
John J. Russell The Windward School (NY)
William DeHaven Winston Preparatory School (NY)
Jack Raslowsky Xavier High School (NY)
Steve Bogad Yavneh Day School (CA)
Jean Monaco & Janet Goldstein York Avenue Preschool (NY)
Ronald P. Stewart York Preparatory School (NY)

 

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This site is an open letter written and supported by heads of independent schools. It does not represent a formal group or organization.

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