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Gun Violence Prevention

Students holding ENOUGH signs


San Diego Unified has made gun violence prevention a priority in supporting the mental health, safety, and wellbeing of district students, staff, and our community as a whole.

The senseless episodes of gun violence that have occurred in schools, businesses, places of worship, and public places across the United States in recent years have been a catalyst for change in the national conversation on gun violence prevention, driving the country's youth to speak out.

In San Diego, thousands of students across the city have already added their voices to this conversation. In 2018, the Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution calling for federal background checks for gun and ammo purchases, a ban on semi-automatic firearms, high capacity magazines and bump stocks. It also called for the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban.

In 2022, the Board unanimously adopted an additional resolution urging families to inform themselves with the facts about gun violence, while also supporting legislation to crack down on the growing prevalence of “ghost guns” within our community.

San Diego Unified has annually reaffirmed this commitment by recognizing Gun Violence Prevention Week each February, and communicating the importance of safely locking or securely disabling firearms in the home.

What You Can Do

Parents, students, and staff are urged to be aware of the measures they can take to prevent gun violence, including:

District leadership sent a communication to all teachers specifically mentioning these items, and also worked with school principals to ensure support for students participating in the National Student Walkout against gun violence.

Students with sign
Students at Patrick Henry High School

Additional measures the district is taking include increased campus security through fencing, cameras and other safeguards. They also include an initiative for students and parents to take steps to protect themselves by reporting suspicious activity, storing legal firearms safely, and taking legal action to get guns out of the hands of those who are a threat to themselves or others.

We must all do what we can to keep our young people safe from gun violence

Don’t wait for an actual threat—trust your instincts. Talk to your students about reporting a student who posts a picture with a gun, or who is violent toward other children or animals. Ask them to not keep it a secret by letting them know that there are trained adults who can help. Report to an adult at school or to local law enforcement.

See something, say something: Encourage your students to report any changes in behavior expressed through words, actions or feelings, such as:

  • Words: “I just want to shoot someone,” or “Sometimes I want to just end it all.”
  • Actions: Looking online for a firearm, making a plan to hurt someone, bullying or being bullied, increasing use of substances.
  • Feelings: Depression, withdrawal, anger, having intrusive thoughts, sleeping more or less than usual.

Recognize risk factors and warning signs of suicide and depression: Learn about suicide prevention by familiarizing yourself with the National SuicidePreventionLifeline.org or the California statewide initiative, “Know the Signs.” If you or someone you know is in distress, contact the 24/7 free/confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255 or the BHRS Access Line: 1-888-818-1115. Or, text MARIN to 741741. [For the Spanish version, Suicide and Crisis Hotline is 1-888-628-9454.]

Gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) allow guns to be removed from the home temporarily—and prevent further purchases—when someone is at risk of harming themselves or others. Families or teachers can apply to a court for a GVRO directly, and anyone can ask law enforcement for a GVRO to remove firearms from individuals who may be violent or in crisis.

In recent years, cities like San Diego have seen a rise in the availability of so-called ghost guns. These cheap guns can be assembled at home and are almost impossible to trace. Although they are now banned in San Diego, thousands are already on the streets. Here is what to look for: https://www.bradyunited.org/fact-sheets/what-are-ghost-guns

If you are a gun owner, always store guns locked, unloaded and out of reach, with ammunition locked separately. Under child access prevention laws, gun owners can be criminally liable when children have access to guns. From trigger locks to gun safes, there are secure storage solutions for every home. Children must not have access to safe codes or keys. If you are not confident about gun ownership, consider different options. 

Talk about guns with people close to you: Having regular conversations about locking weapons and gun safety reduces the chance of unintentional shootings. For more information on how to keep your family and community safe, please check out resources such as: