Working to ­prevent gun violence in our schools

There are certain days when I already know exactly what I’ll be hearing from every friend and neighbor that I talk to – and those days fall directly after another horrific school shooting in our country.

As a parent of two, it’s an issue that weighs heavily on my mind and one that desperately needs our attention.
I joined Alhambra High School students at a recent assembly for Sandy Hook Promise Day, a national opportunity for students, school staff and the community to come together and commit to doing everything possible to prevent a tragedy from happening on their campus.

That assemblies such as this are necessary is a heartbreaking and unique feature of life in modern America, where almost half of school days involve a school shooting. These shootings are a moral failing of our society, and we must all take personal responsibility to do our part to end them – in honor of those we have tragically lost and in a promise to our children, whom we hug a little tighter after every awful headline.

Over the last 25 years, research has shown that in 7 out of 10 acts of gun violence, another individual knew that an act of violence would be committed. If we are going to end violence in our schools, we must take all information seriously. We must recognize and act on it.

However, right now in California, if you post online your plans to commit violence against a school, with a gun or otherwise, law enforcement has a limited ability to pursue a criminal prosecution. It is backward and unquestionably immoral that someone will be criminally charged for threatening violence against an individual but won’t be charged when they are threatening an entire campus.

This year, I authored Assembly Bill 907 to update our laws to ensure that we are treating threats against schools with the gravity they demand.

One of the things emphasized at Alhambra High was the Say Something program, which strives to educate, encourage and empower students to speak out when they see something that might be a sign of future violence. If students do not feel confident that speaking up will help prevent a tragedy, they will lose the motivation to do so. We cannot let their voices fall on deaf ears.

While it is upsetting that Promise Days and Say Something programs have to exist, it gives me hope that we are turning the national conversation toward taking action. As we continue to look out and care for one another as a community, we can play our part in making our schools, our neighborhoods and our state a safer place to live.

Reach Assemblyman Tim Grayson at (925) 521-1511. Visit or write the district office 2151 Salvio Street, Suite P, Concord, CA 94520