Houston's police chief says he's 'hit rock bottom' with gun rights arguments.

Texas has a reputation as a gun-totin', gun-lovin' state — and for good reason.

The Lone Star State has more licensed firearm dealers than any other state in addition to some of the loosest gun laws in the nation. The National Rifle Association held its 2018 annual convention in Dallas, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has publicly stated, "I will sign whatever legislation reaches my desk that expands Second Amendment rights in Texas."

But not all Texans are opposed to reasonable gun legislation.


Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo shared his response to the Santa Fe High School shooting on Facebook. Photo via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

After the Santa Fe school shooting, Houston's police chief shared a heartfelt Facebook post shutting down gun rights advocates.

Eight students and two teachers were shot and killed by a gunman at Santa Fe High School, located less than an hour outside of Houston on May 19, 2018. Police Chief Art Acevedo took to Facebook to share his thoughts.

"Today I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I'm not ashamed to admit I've shed tears of sadness, pain and anger," he began.

Then he spoke straight to gun rights advocates: "I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I've hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue. Please do not post anything about guns aren't the problem and there's little we can do."

Like many Americans, Acevedo seems to be fed up with people responding to the gunning down of children in their classrooms with defense of guns and tired arguments that there's nothing that can be done.

Image via Art Acevedo/Facebook.

He decried the "hatred being spewed in our country" then addressed the routine "thoughts and prayers" response from lawmakers.

"This isn't a time for prayers, and study and inaction, it's a time for prayers, action and the asking of God's forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing)."

Take note, politicians: He is done with all the apathy. And he's not alone.

We need more voices of authority and influence to speak out for reasonable gun legislation.

Acevado leads a department of 5,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 1,200 civilian support personnel in Houston. Before that, he led a department of 2,500 officers and support personnel in Austin. As a highly visible, well-respected leader in law enforcement in one of the largest jurisdictions in America, he has more influence than most.

When people like Acevado speak, others will listen. And we need more of those people to make their voices heard in the ongoing debate on gun violence in our nation.

Image via Art Acevedo/Twitter.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

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A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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