PTA Meeting Minutes 11.12.19

Campbell PTA Meeting
November 12, 2019

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approximate # of Attendees: 25


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President

  • Barbara welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Liz Ryan, parent of a 4th grader at Campbell, who will be giving a presentation about gun safety


2.       Be SMART: Liz Ryan, Moms Demand Action

  • Liz volunteers with Moms Demand Action – this is the second time she’s presented to the Campbell PTA – the first presentation was about 2 ½ years ago and Campbell was the first place we’d ever given this presentation in Arlington. Since then, we’ve been to a lot of different communities. Tonight’s presentation is an updated version, about a program called “Be SMART.”
  • Let’s start with some statistics:
    • 1,500 American kids ages 0-17 are killed with guns every year (includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional/accidental deaths)
    • 4.5 million children live in a household with at least one gun that’s loaded and unlocked
    • 78% of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their homes or the homes of a relative or friend
    • Most children, when they die from a gunshot injury, it happens in the home
  • Tonight – we are not here to talk about politics or legislation (though Moms Demand Action does do a lot of work in that area) – we are here to talk about what we can all do to make sure that kids don’t have unsupervised access to guns 
  • Things we can all agree on:
    • We want our kids to grow up happy and healthy
    • We all have the right to make responsible decisions about how to protect our families and our homes, including whether or not to own a gun
    • If we can prevent even one child’s death, it’s our responsibility to do so
  • Headlines about gun violence are troubling: school shootings, accidental deaths of children who find unlocked guns, cycle of violence and gun deaths in some communities, suicides by gun
  • What can we do about it? Program is called “Be SMART”
    • Secure guns in your homes and vehicles
      • Keep guns locked, unloaded, and stored separately from ammunition
      • Hiding a gun is not securing a gun
      • There are many options to store your guns safely, even inexpensively: gun safes, cable locks, lock boxes
      • Arlington’s DHS has a program where they will provide lock boxes to families free of charge if they cannot afford them (both to store guns and medication)
      • It’s also important to secure guns in order to prevent gun theft there are 380,000 guns stolen every year, 25% of these are stolen from cars
    • Model responsible behavior
      • Always the responsibility of adults to prevent unauthorized access to guns, never the fault of a curious child
      • Make gun safety a part of the normal safety conversation you have with your children – keep the language simple, e.g. “If you see a gun, don’t touch it. Tell an adult right away.”
    • Ask about unsecured guns in other homes
      • Make it part of your general conversation when your child is invited to visit a new home – weave it into conversation about other safety issues like food allergies, pets, adult supervision, etc.
      • Try email or text; using technology may feel easier to have this conversation
        • A parent shared an example of a recent text exchange she initiated in advance of a playdate with a new friend – start by arranging details about playdate (time, location, etc.), then ask whether they have any guns or other weapons in their home
      • Volunteer information about your own home
      • Talk to family and caregivers (before visiting relatives, sending your children to home-based daycares, allowing your older children to babysit at another home)
    • Recognize the role of guns in suicide
      • Most people who attempt suicide do not die, unless they use a gun
        • 85% of suicide attempts with a gun result in fatality 
        • 40% of child suicides involve a gun
        • Nearly 50% of all those who survive a suicide attempt report spending less than 10 minutes thinking about it beforehand; What does this mean? Suicide is a very impulsive act. Easy access to a weapon can make a very impulsive act turn tragic.
      • If you have a specific fear about someone in your family being at risk for suicide, you may want to temporarily remove guns from your home; Arlington County, for example, will store your guns temporarily if you ask them, and there are other options (like a gun range, or asking a family member to store them safely for a period of time).
        • A survey of HS students found that 17% had seriously contemplated suicide
        • Another study showed that 41% of adolescents in gun-owning households reported having “easy access” to the guns in their homes
        • Resources about preventing suicide:
          • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
          • Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386
          • Text HOME to 741-741 in any type of crisis
    • Tell your peers to be SMART
      • Your voice and all voices are critical
      • Research shows that law enforcement, the military, and hunting or outdoor groups are particularly effective at communicating safe storage practices
      • Someone hears the Be SMART message every 21 minutes
      • Talk to you friends and family about what you’ve learned tonight
      • We’re happy to come to your church group, your civic association, your book club; no group is too small. If you’d like to have us come and present to another organization, reach out to me directly at
      • You can also go to for more information.
  • The group thanked Liz for the presentation and helping to normalizing this conversation, especially before the holidays when people might be visiting relatives. It’s a difficult conversation to have, and sometimes it’s harder to have the conversation with relatives even than strangers.

3.       Discussion of School Move Proposals and Advocacy Opportunities, Barbara Martinez, President

  • There was a robust discussion about the school move proposals
  • The PTA Executive Board sent a letter to APS (not from the PTA but from those individuals), a copy is available this evening 
  • Updated information, include answers to a list of FAQ, is posted online here:
  • Next steps for our PTA:
    • Sign up to speak at School Board meetings and School Board office hours using this form:
    • Plan to attend one or more Community Meetings in December:
      • December 9th, 7pm at Swanson MS
      • December 10th, 6:30 pm at Central Library
      • December 16th, 7 pm at Kenmore (en Espanol)
    • Thursday Moms group will be discussing this topic this week


4.       Overview of Enrichment Opportunities and PTA support, Barbara Martinez, President

  • This originated because at last month’s PTA meeting, we discussed after school activity funding, after we had a particularly large funding request from one club and we discussed concerns about how we are or are not funding other activities
  • Maureen noted that we don’t have a lot of after school activity opportunities for K-3, relative to those for 4th and 5th graders – we might need to revisit the Project Discovery offerings for the younger ages to offset
  • Overview of extracurricular activities at Campbell, the associated fees, and PTA support:
    • Odyssey of the Mind, $30 per family, PTA is not sponsoring, just collecting the fees
    • Boys on the Move, no charge, PTA funding of $550 went to T-shirts and a pizza party
    • Girls on the Run, $175 per child, PTA funding of $250 to reimburse coaches for snacks
    • Yes Club, no charge
    • Community Meeting Crew, no charge, PTA spent $81 for costumes
    • Patrols Program, no charge, PTA has $100 set aside (pizza party)
    • School Musical, no charge, PTA has not supported to date but would like to – request to music teachers to share ideas with PTA about how we can support the musical
    • Math Dice, no charge, PTA pays for team t-shirts each year
    • Band, no charge, PTA does not support
    • Project Discovery, fees charged by class, not entirely sure how scholarships are working with our new vendor Baroody; we don’t intend for fees to be a barrier so we’re following up with them to determine whether we need to increase support
  • Executive Board will discuss how we will bring more equity to after school activities



5.       Treasurer’s Report and Funding Requests: Amanda Lowenberger

    • Funding requests:
      • Request for $255 to fund a PTA book club around the issues of race and equity
        • Idea is to have a few books per year that families and teachers read as part of a book club (for adults)
        • This money is to purchase books for the first book club, for 15 participants
        • Motion to fund book purchase ($255), seconded, motion carries
      • Request from Ms. Drabyk: $710 for additional flexible seating e.g. wobble seats/ cushions for her K/1 classroom
        • It was noted that we will discuss at a future meeting a more comprehensive way to address flexible seating across the school, rather than teacher-by-teacher – would like to make sure more kids have access
        • Motion to fund flexible seating ($710), seconded, motion carries
  • Budget highlights:
    • Expenses – normal expenses, plus:
      • Kindergarten expedition (toys for the “Play, Past and Present” expedition)
      • Reimbursed teachers for 5th Grade Shirlington field trip (Smart Trip cards)
      • Flexible seating for 4th grade
      • New Weatherbugs costumes
    • Income:
      • CCPTA has reimbursed us for the white board grants
      • Made over $10,000 from Fun Run


6.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • No December PTA meeting; next PTA meeting on Tuesday, January 14th