San Dieguito board passes student-driven resolution on gun violence

Shane and Andrew Baum
Shane and Andrew Baum with SDUHSD board members Michael Allman, Katrina Young, Interim Superintendent Tina Douglas and President Mo Muir.
(Courtesy of the Baums)

The San Dieguito Union High School District board unanimously supported a resolution Aug. 25 on the prevention of gun violence in American schools, brought forward by La Costa Canyon seniors Shane and Andrew Baum. The resolution includes important steps that the district could take, such as implementing free, safe gun storage education initiatives and advocating for federal common sense gun laws.

Shane and Andrew are ASB co-presidents at La Costa Canyon High School. Passionate about civic engagement, they co-founded the first multicultural student union at LCC (the Racial Equity Alliance), and are bilingual outreach coordinators for Campana Studios as Spanish was their first language. They also actively volunteer for Encinitas 4 Equality and have interned for Congressman Mike Levin’s campaign office for over a year. Additionally, they also run cross country and track and field.

With their resolution, Andrew said students and staff deserve to feel supported and advocated for on behalf of the board, especially as it relates to school safety.

Their resolution shares gun violence statistics from across the country: In 2020, firearm-related injuries surpassed motor vehicle crashes to become the leading cause of death among people 1 to 19 years old. According to Education Week, there have been 27 school shootings so far this year, killing 27 and injuring 56.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, an estimated 54% of gun owners do not store all of their firearms securely.

“The resolution recognizes that gun violence protection and school safety measures are non-partisan and do not reflect any political party’s ideals,” Andrew said. “This would eliminate misconceptions about steps to end gun violence in times of political turbulence.”

The board previously passed a resolution on school safety in June, following the Uvalde, Texas shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Prior to that, the board passed a resolution on student safety and school violence in December 2021, following the school shooting in Michigan that left four high school students dead and injured six others. That resolution had reaffirmed one the board passed in 2018, in the wake of the Parkland High School shooting, in which 17 students were killed.

Shane said while there are clauses in their resolution similar to the board’s previous resolutions, this one seeks to prevent gun violence on the federal level.

“Policymakers like you can help prevent gun violence in schools by implementing proactive, evidence-based solutions,” Shane said. “Our leaders must take responsible actions to help keep our school safe.”

Board members and district staff complimented the “remarkable” Baum brothers for their advocacy. “I”m really grateful and proud of these two students who have crafted a well-researched, compassionate and articulate resolution,” said Trustee Katrina Young.

At the meeting, the Baums worked with the board to clarify some words in the resolution, holding firm on clauses they felt were important to include such as recognizing that American school systems can do better on providing mental health counselors, psychologists and social workers, and the need to identify and support students exhibiting warning signs of depression and violence.

During public comment, the Baums also heard support for their resolution from parents and students.

“Gun violence impacts every person in America,” said Isabelle Slentz, a senior at San Dieguito Academy and co-president of their March of our Lives chapter. “From Parkdale to Uvalde, students such as myself have grown up seeing tragedy after tragedy in regards to school shootings. We have been constantly let down by the lack of change we have seen. While this deeply systemic problem is clearly one that cannot be easily solved, change does start with the local level.”