Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (Democrat, District 5, Providence) has released a statement on the shooting death of 15-year-old William Parsons outside the Providence Career and Technical Academy Wednesday afternoon.
“It is with deep sadness that I write about yet another senseless killing of a bright 15-year-old boy,” said Ranglin-Vassell. “Schools are sacred places of teaching and learning so this public health tragedy is hard on our community. Families must send their children to school and know that they will return home. We must invest in the core urban areas. Poverty and structural racism is the root cause of this tragedy, like so many others. Easy access to guns and ammunition must stop. It cannot be that easy for kids to get guns.”
Representative Ranglin-Vassell has called for the General Assembly to reconvene immediately to take up a resolution (2018-H 7613) she introduced that would create a 13-member commission to study the impact of the trauma inflicted on children who are exposed to violence.
She has also called for passage of the Safe Schools Act (2018-H 7591), which was introduced by Representative Katherine Kazarian (Democrat, District 63, East Providence). The bill would allow only peace officers and persons approved by school authorities for the purposes of educational instruction to carry firearms or other weapons on school grounds.
It has garnered the support of the NAACP, according to its president, Jim Vincent, who has asked for immediate passage. The organization has asked the state to provide greater investments in jobs as well as to address the issue of structural poverty.
“As a teacher in Providence Public Schools, my colleagues and I want a greater investment in our school,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell. “This greater investment must not be more police. Teachers and administrators, guidance counselors and social workers and psychologists are on the frontline and must be supported.”
Pastor Carl H Balark Jr of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Providence has also joined with Representative Ranglin-Vassell in urging the passage of the bills and greater support of children and families.