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March 15, 2018
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Commissioner Elia Issues Open Letter to Governor Cuomo

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Thank you for your letter. I stand with you in support of New York’s students who express themselves through free speech as I indicated yesterday commending these students for bold leadership.

I have discussed with school district superintendents, board members, teachers and others the importance of learning from this tragedy by engaging our students in an important civics lesson on the power of their own voices. We will investigate any reports where the safety of students was put in jeopardy, as we always do.

I am pleased so many of our state leaders are united in their commitment to address the issue of gun violence and school safety and thank you for your support of New York’s students. I look forward to continuing a meaningful dialogue with you and our stakeholders to implement strategies at the state and federal levels to ensure all schools remain safe havens for children.

Below, for your reference, is a statement issued yesterday expressing praise and support from the Chancellor, the Board of Regents and me for the students who participated in yesterday’s national movement:

“Earlier today, in a peaceful, yet powerful display of unity and civic engagement, students across New York State, and the nation, walked out of their classrooms to demand action on two of the most pressing issues of our time – ensuring school safety and stemming the tide of gun violence. This is a national movement; it is real; and it is being driven by our students. As educators, we often talk about ‘teachable moments.’ These young people, united in peaceful protest to demand action by our Congress on gun violence, are turning tragedy into a teachable moment for our federal lawmakers. We commend these students for their bold example of leadership in action and call on Congress and lawmakers across the nation to heed their voices.”


MaryEllen Elia 

State Education Commissioner

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