The following statement is from State Senator Ralph Northam, a Democratic candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor.
Statement from the Office of Senator Ralph Northam on the Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and Governor McDonnell’s Suggestion to Arm Teachers
“As a children’s doctor, U.S. Army veteran, State Senator, and father of two, I have spent my entire professional and public life in the service of our children. In the wake of last week’s senseless tragedy in Connecticut, it is painfully clear that we need to do more to protect the most vulnerable among us. If we can’t keep our children safe, we are failing. We must reverse the cultural trends that desensitize our youth to violence. We must develop our mental health capabilities to identify and offer assistance to those at risk. And we absolutely must keep guns out of the hands of those who would use them for evil.
Instead of looking for common sense policies that help safeguard Virginians, Governor McDonnell has suggested an irresponsible approach that is wrong for Virginia. Guns don’t belong in Virginia’s schools, period. Our teachers are there to inspire, educate, and support our students, and we should be offering them more resources to do their job, not piling on the additional and grave responsibility of doubling as law enforcement. As we struggle to understand how we as a culture are continuing to see these mass murders, putting additional guns into our schools not only increases the danger to our students but also sends the wrong message.
To make matters worse, the Governor’s budget has recommended an additional $1.5 million in cuts to our already overextended mental health system. We know from the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Newtown, Connecticut, that proper mental health treatment is essential to public safety. Governor McDonnell is jeopardizing our state’s ability to identify those at risk and get them the health care they need in a time when it is devastatingly clear we need to be doing more, not less. I plan to go to Richmond this session to fight for common sense proposals that will protect our children, our schools and our Commonwealth. I can only hope the McDonnell-Cuccinelli administration will join us.”