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Educators rally outside Michigan Capitol calling for stricter gun laws, more mental health resources

Educators rally outside the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 to call for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources in schools.
Sarah Lehr
/
WKAR-MSU
Educators rally outside the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 to call for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources in schools.

Lansing public schools teacher Shari Apol was protesting downtown Tuesday evening when she caught sight of Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey heading to the state Capitol.

So she trailed the Clarklake Republican while he kept walking, holding her protest sign aloft and urging him to pass pending gun control bills.

"So that no more parents have to do a DNA swab to recognize which child of theirs is deceased from gun violence," Apol said, referencing a May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Shari Apol at protest
Sarah Lehr
/
WKAR-MSU
Lansing School District teacher Shari Apol confronted Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, during a protest at the state Capitol in Lansing on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. One side of Apol's sign was based on a quote from a New York Times column about the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. The other included a list of pending gun control bills.

Shirkey simply responded "thank you" before walking into the building.

Apol says she supports legislation that would limit magazine capacity. Several Democratic-sponsored bills listed on her sign would require background checks for all types of gun purchases in Michigan, instead of just pistols.

Last month, state Senate Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats to force a floor vote on gun control bills, including requirements for safely storing firearms away from children. But in the wake of school shootings in Texas and Oxford, Michigan, lawmakers in Lansing have agreed to beef up spending on school security.

Chuck Alberts, the president of the Lansing Schools Education Association teachers' union, helped organize Tuesday's protest. Scores of school staffers and parents participated, with many calling for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources in schools.

“Fortifying our schools and turning them into fortresses isn't enough," Alberts said.

Sarah Lehr is a politics and civics reporter for WKAR News.
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