BTF Planning to Keep Flags at Half-Staff for Long Term

Will be raised once action taken to address guns & school safety

Mike Baggerman
March 14, 2018 - 3:00 am

Phil Rumore (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Buffalo Teacher's Federation is planning to lower its flags to half-staff and keep it at half-staff until there's been sufficient action to address gun violence in America.

"Enough is enough," BTF President Phil Rumore said on Tuesday. "How many more people will be murdered in our schools? It's an issue of guns but it's also an issue of having enough school counselors, enough people in the building to identify those students and adults who have problems."

Rumore said that since the Sandy Hook massacre, there have been 239 school shootings with 438 people shot and 138 murdered in the schools. That statistic was provided by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group which tracks shootings nationwide, according to Politifact. The fact-checking website reported that there have been seven mass public shootings which resulted in the deaths of ten or more people. 

Regardless, Rumore said keeping the flags at half-staff could encourage lawmakers to enact change.

"We can't stop until we have ended this problem," he said.

The BTF introduced a resolution which recommends the following:

  • Separate funding for school districts to employ at least one school resource officer in each school
  • Additional funding for school counselors, social workers, psychologists, attendance teachers, and support personnel
  • Institute a statewide crisis tapeline/app to provide students with access to crisis counselors and a confidential means of reporting bullying, violence, and threats
  • Funding for districts to train school staff and aprents to detect early warning signs that a student may become violent
  • A state law to ban assault weapons similar to the AR-15
  • Mandating comprehensive background checks 
  • Allowing at least seven days to conduct background checks
  • Raising the age to own a handgun to 21 unless the owner is a member of the military or a law enforcement officer
  • Prohibit sale of bump stocks

The resolution also opposed arming teachers in schools.

Rumore said he plans to introduce the idea to the Buffalo Public Schools. 

LISTEN: BTF President Phil Rumore on lowering flags at half-staff

BTF Half Staff - Phil Rumore RAW.mp3

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