Summer Lee Delivers Powerful Floor Speech on Trauma Felt by PA Students, Parents, Teachers Shooters Who Lived Through Mass School Shooting Hoax at a Dozen Schools Across, Lockdowns, Evacuations Days After Nashville School Shooting

“Republicans want to control what books you read, what history you learn, how you identify, who you can love, They want to control everything except that which could prevent mass preventable trauma and murder of our children.”

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – On Wednesday evening, Congresswoman Summer Lee spoke on the House Floor hours after calls about an active shooter at six Pittsburgh area high schools and a total of a dozen high schools across Pennsylvania caused widespread lockdowns and evacuations. By late afternoon, public safety officials stated that these swatting calls – which also occurred around the same time in Utah, Southern California and Kansas –were false and began the process of reuniting students with their families. The FBI is working to find out who was responsible for the false reports. 

In the course of the horrific situation, students and teachers barricaded used furniture to barricade themselves in classrooms, weren’t allowed to make a noise – even through tears – and were advised to fight back with chemicals and metal rods found in the classroom. The FBI is working to find out who was responsible for the false reports. But thousands of students, teachers, parents across the Commonwealth are deeply traumatized by this nightmare scenario less than 72 hours after a mass shooting in Nashville stole three children and three adults’ lives.

Congresswoman Lee said, “I rise today in honor of the students, teachers, parents, and loved ones across Western PA, who are still reeling from what we all thought was our worst fear come to life today. Just days after families in Nashville went through the unimaginable hell of losing their nine-year old children because they had the audacity to attend a school in America, we received word about an active shooter situation back home in Pittsburgh. First at Central Catholic High School, then Oakland High School, and eventually a dozen of our schools across PA. 

Lee continued, “Imagine… you’re a student at Central Catholic. You’ve gone through active shooter drills, and you saw the news on Monday & heard about every school shooting prior, and today, you get a text that a gunman has entered your school. You’re wondering if you’ll be shot, if your friends will be shot, your classmates, your teammates, your teacher? Can you protect them or should you run? Do you have time to text your parents one last time? Imagine…you’re a teacher, hysterically crying to the dispatcher a minute after you heard the news. You realize the lock on your door is broken, so you start building barricades with desks and chairs. You ask your students to protect themselves with whatever means possible, from the metal rod in the closet to the acid chemicals in the physics lab. Imagine… you’re a parent, and you receive that phone call or text. Your heart stops. Your world freezes and your mind starts to race. Can you get to their school in time? Will you ever hug your children again? Will they meet you at the reunification spot?”

Click here to watch. 

Full transcript of remarks:

 I rise today in honor of the students, teachers, parents, and loved ones across Western PA, who are still reeling from what we all thought was our worst fear come to life today. 

Just days after families in Nashville went through the unimaginable hell of losing their nine-year old children because they had the audacity to attend a school in America, we received word about an active shooter situation back home in Pittsburgh. First at Central Catholic High School, then Oakland High School, and eventually a dozen of our schools across PA. 

Imagine… you’re a student at Central Catholic. You’ve gone through active shooter drills, and you saw the news on Monday & heard about every school shooting prior, and today, you get a text that a gunman has entered your school.

You’re wondering if you’ll be shot, if your friends will be shot, your classmates, your teammates, your teacher? Can you protect them or should you run? Do you have time to text your parents one last time?  

Imagine…you’re a teacher, hysterically crying to the dispatcher a minute after you heard the news. You realize the lock on your door is broken, so you start building barricades with desks and chairs. You ask your students to protect themselves with whatever means possible, from the metal rod in the closet to the acid chemicals in the physics lab.

Imagine… you’re a parent, and you receive that phone call or text. Your heart stops. Your world freezes and your mind starts to race. Can you get to their school in time? Will you ever hug your children again? Will they meet you at the reunification spot?

Active shootings, hoaxes, evacuations, drills.. This is no way for our kids to live. 

This is disgraceful. And NO –  my colleagues across the aisle – this is NOT normal. Active shootings aren’t normal. Shooting hoaxes aren’t normal. The evacuations and drills are not normal.

There’s nothing about this that’s normal. 

Guns are the leading cause of death in children ages 1-18. Not car crashes. Not illnesses or accidents. It’s guns!

Tomorrow we will send our students back to those buildings where they experienced that immense trauma and fear. We will expect them to pretend it’s a normal day. We’ll expect them to continue to learn and perform and be attentive in the same classroom they were barricaded in. 

Thankfully, unlike the students and teachers and families in Nashville, Michigan, Uvalde, Parkland, Sandyhook and too many others gunned down to count….they won’t have to cry over their classmates’ bodies or see their empty chairs when they return to school. 

Because this time, it was “just” a hoax. No not a hoax…a swatting – of children in schools, in this era of heightened fear and vigilance around an epidemic of school and other mass shootings. So thankfully today, it wasn’t dead children back home in Pittsburgh, it was “just” traumatized children. 

It does not have to be this way. And it wouldn’t be this way. 

But it is this way.. because Republicans care more about guns than our kids or worshipers in a church or synagogue or shoppers in a Walmart..

Republicans want to control what books you read, they want to control what history you learn, They want to control how you identify, who you can love, our bodies… 

They want to control everything except that which could prevent mass preventable deaths of children and students and worshippers and shoppers…in the only country on earth that this is a problem…they will not control the proliferation of guns in this country.

And for those of you who say it’s too political to ask that we put an end to bullet ridden babies in body bags and traumatized kids doing active shooter drills…I ask you to stop putting your politics over our children’s lives. 

I yield back.”

Congresswoman Lee is a proud cosponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2023, introduced in February of this Congress.

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