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Teacher shares strong message about gun violence

Wednesday marks one week since a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – ...

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 12:36 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2018 12:36 PM

Wednesday marks one week since a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – taking 17 lives.

Now, the president of the Portland Association of Teachers has a strong message about gun violence.

Last week's shooting is intensely personal to her, as she graduated from that Florida high school.

"I don't think everyone understands what it's like to hide in a closet, barricade your door and prepare for an active shooter," said Suzanne Cohen.

For 15 years, Cohen was a teacher to Portland students.

"This generation is a mass shooting generation," she said.

Active school shooter drills became the normal, she says, both for her and her middle school students.

"There are questions like, what do I do, do I have to wait for you, and you're like, no you run, you save yourself," said Cohen.

One week ago, teenagers in Florida were doing just that, at Cohen's very own high school.

"I was a graduating class of 1994," she said.

Cohen says this mass shooting in her own hometown struck a nerve.

"I don't know how to explain it except I know that I need to take charge of these feelings I'm having," she said.

Cohen represents more than 4,000 educators in Portland. She is the president of the Portland Association of Teachers, and this president has a new purpose: to end gun violence at school.

"We can no longer pretend that gun control isn't an issue for education," Cohen said.

Most of Cohen's inspiration to speak out comes from these students.

"As kids who've grown up watching us adults accept these tragedies, I'm so proud of them for not accepting it," she said. "It's really very inspiring."

On Wednesday, survivors of the Parkland shooting got loud at the state capitol in Florida, calling for a ban on assault weapons.

"I'm not here for a fight. I'm not here to argue with you," said survivor Ryan Deitsch. "I just want to speak. I just want to see your face and know why!"

And in Washington D.C., more students are demanding change. Inside the walls of the White House, there was a listening session with President Donald Trump and victims of gun violence.

"It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it," said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in Florida shooting. "And I'm pissed, because my daughter… I'm not going to see again. She's not here."

President Trump then made the suggestion of arming teachers.

"It's called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They'd go for special training," he said.

Cohen said it's not a solution.

"As long as we're crouching in closets and practicing locking our doors, we've got a problem, and that's what needs addressing," she said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Oroville
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Chico
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Red Bluff
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 55°
Red Bluff
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 57°
As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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