Today is a particularly difficult day. I know I am not alone in my heartbreak and grief over the loss of the 19 children and 2 teachers killed in Uvalde, Texas. Furthermore, the trauma of the shooting inflicted on the survivors and the families of the victims has only just begun. For children and teens, gun violence exposure can negatively affect psychological and mental wellbeing, school performance, and can influence risk behaviors well into adulthood. Weapons and violence among school-age children is a growing public health challenge that impacts communities across the United States. Addressing this worsening crisis requires the comprehensive coordination of programs and policy solutions, particularly those focused on prevention.
In June 2019, the Clark-Fox Policy Institute co-sponsored a congressional briefing addressing weapons and violence in schools. The panel included Sean Joe, Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development, and Lauren Hogg, surviving student from the Parkland Florida school shooting and March for our Lives co-founder, among others. Information shared by the panel of experts was developed into The Impact of Weapons and Violence on Schools and Surrounding Communities, a policy brief that details the damaging effects of weapons and violence on school-age children and what can be done to stem this distressing trend.
Unfortunately, little has changed in the last three years. The parents, families, and friends who have lost loved ones to gun violence in schools deserve action. Policymakers and legislators must implement evidence-based policies and practices that can assist with successfully mitigating weapons and violence, increasing student empowerment, and enhancing community and school safety.
The congressional briefing was organized by the Congressional Social Work Caucus (chaired by Rep. Barbara Lee, CA-13), in conjunction with the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, National Academy of Education, American Educational Research Association, and a host of sponsors, including the Clark-Fox Policy Institute.
Gary Parker (pronouns: he/him/his)
Associate Dean for External Affairs
Director, Clark-Fox Policy Institute