First lady Dr. Jill Biden revealed on Friday she has often envisioned what it would be like if there was a shooting in one of the classrooms in which she teaches.
“As a teacher, I’ve imagined that scene in my own classroom, again and again,” said Biden during remarks at the National Parent Teachers Association’s 125th Anniversary Convention. “At the start of each semester, I’m sure all of you in here who are teachers do this, you explain to your students on the first day a path, a pathway, to get out if a shooter comes into the school so that they’re prepared.”
Biden, who has been a teacher for 38 years, said active shooter training is now part of life for every educator.
“I explain it to my students because, you know, they need to know what they should do if the worst happens,” she said.”
Biden is currently on summer break from her teaching position at Northern Virginia Community College, where she is a professor in the English department.
“Though I now go to work with the Secret Service, I’ve often wondered over the years … if my students would be the next heartbreaking headline,” she said, adding, “All of you in here who are in the classroom know this.”
The first lady shared what it was like when she and President Joe Biden visited Uvalde, Texas, in the wake of the elementary school shooting there last month that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
“Three weeks ago Joe and I stood before the 21 crosses at Uvalde. I touched the pictures of the bright, beautiful faces that would never again laugh, or open birthday presents, or tell their parents that they love them,” said Biden. “And I lay down white roses on this sea of colorful flowers, the offerings of a town broken by grief.”
Biden then called on Congress to act to pass gun legislation, her first extended comments on the ongoing fight on Capitol Hill over gun safety reform in the wake of several recent shootings, including Uvalde.
“Congress did not act after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Parkland,” she said, listing the most deadly school shootings in the US.
“There are no excuses,” said Biden. “It’s up to Congress to act. And they represent the will of the people and that’s why we need the people to speak up, parents and teachers, all of us. We need to fight now for the lives of our children and for the safety of our schools.”