Adler University leaders joined educators, school violence prevention researchers, and practitioners nationwide Wednesday in a call-to-action push to stop gun violence in the U.S.
The initiative was spearheaded by the Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence, which is comprised of 19 prominent violence prevention experts. Members reached out to key influencers throughout the country in recent weeks seeking endorsement for a statement disseminated nationally on Feb. 28.
Adler University President Raymond Crossman, Ph.D., is among the long list of notaries. The initiative is in solidarity with a largely student-led movement for gun reform legislation — one that ignited in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a 19-year-old former student entered the school that day, fatally shooting 17 students and faculty and wounded 14 others.
“School shootings and widespread community gun violence are far greater in the United States than other nation,” the endorsed gun violence statement says. “America cannot be great and realize its promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if our children are not safe … ”
The letter contends that simply preparing for school shootings is insufficient.
“We need a change in mindset and policy from reaction to prevention” it states. “Prevention entails more than security measures and begins long before a gunman comes to school. We need a comprehensive public health approach to gun violence that is informed by scientific evidence and free from partisan politics.”
The statement does more than broach the issue. It lists specific measures needed to prevent future mass shootings and breaks them into three levels of prevention: Universal approaches promoting safety and well-being for everyone; practices for reducing risk and promoting protective factors for persons experiencing difficulties; and interventions for individuals where violence is present or appears imminent.
“It’s time for federal and state authorities to take immediate action to enact these proposals and provide adequate resources for effective implementation,” it concludes. “We call on law enforcement, mental health, and educational agencies to begin actions supporting these prevention efforts. We ask all parents and youth to join efforts advocating for these changes, and we urge voters to elect representatives who will take effective action to prevent gun violence in our nation.”
Read the full statement, which includes endorsers and a specific list of steps necessary to stop future violence.