HARRISON, N.Y. -- Teachers and elected officials from around Westchester and Putnam counties unveiled a solidarity quilt in remembrance of those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown at a news conference Thursday in Harrison.
The colorful quilt features the logos of more than 30 local teacher unions. The quilt will be delivered to Newtown to show support for the community. It also symbolizes a rejection of proposals by the National Rifle Association that teachers should be armed in schools.
"There's no reasons that our children should not feel that their schools are a safe haven," said Karen Magee, president of the Harrison Association of Teachers who spearheaded the project. "The NRA's position regarding guns in the schools is unacceptable."
"We think the best measure is prevention," said Harrison Superintendent Lou Wool, who also serves as president of the Lower Hudson Valley Council of School Superintendents. "The way we stop the tragedies like the one that occurred at Newtown is we identify those children who are disaffected and in need of help and we get them the help that they need."
"We are all united. This quilt is a symbol of that," sad Pat Puleo, president of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers. She asked that legislators working on New York's SAFE Act include assistance for students who are most in need and at-risk.
"We will not stand with those who say that teachers being armed in our schools is the way toward safety," sad Assemblyman David Buchwald. "That's simply counterproductive. It's not something our our educators, our parents or our administrators are in favor of."
"This quilt is about solidarity because our hearts and our love go out to the people of Newtown," said Assemblyman Steve Otis. "The role of teachers should not be to be strapped down with firearms in every classroom, it changes the whole environment."
"What we need in this country is not more guns. we need reasonable regulations, we need to reasonably deal with those people who are not stable and must be given services," said state Sen. George Latimer. "We need teachers to teach. We need professional law enforcement people to provide the professional law enforcement. We need some sanity."
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