BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — On Thursday, educators gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Park to address violence in Buffalo and across the nation.
"Stop the violence within the district. Period,” special education teacher Desiree Breckenridge-Barnes said. “We're one village. We have to give people hope that we can move past this, and we can heal."
"It has to be the community together and that's part of what teachers do,” President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten said.
Weingarten said change starts in the classroom. She said it’s important to use words like white supremacy and call out racism for what it is.
"You have to actually understand history to change it,” Weingarten said.
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore said creating a comprehensive education plan is important. But he said too many schools are lacking resources that help students grapple with tragedies.
"We need funding for school counselors, social workers, psychologists,” Rumore said. “We need more resource officers."
Rumore said too many schools in the region do not have funding for resource officers, who create a sense of safety.
"It’s not just that they're there for security,” Rumore said. “They form a relationship with the kids, then the kids will talk to them if they suspect somethings wrong."
Breckenridge-Barnes said Albany needs to help carry the weight.
"Start creating legislation that will pull up the red flags, have that universal background check, provide us with more security in our school system,” Breckenridge-Barnes said.