Date: February 27th, 2018
By: Pat Paluzzi
Like the rest of the Nation, Healthy Teen Network is deeply saddened by the continued assaults on our youth in schools. We are in full support of the various youth-led school walkouts and marches that are attempting to force our representatives to do what is right and have a common sense, non-partisan discussion on gun safety.
We believe that the prevention of firearm violence requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the broad social, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to youth violence. Eliminating gun accessibility from the environments of adolescents is an essential component of this approach. This is not the same as taking guns away; this is about enacting laws that respect when and how someone should have access to firearms.
We recognize that not all youth can walk out of schools or march safely, but professionals working with youth may find these resources, compiled by the Center for Mental Health in Schools & Student/Learning Supports at UCLA, helpful in supporting and empowering youth-led advocacy efforts:
- U.S. Department of Education, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS Technical Assistance Center): Responding to School Walkout Demonstrations
- National Center for Education Statistics: Fast Facts: School Safety and Security Measures
- Youth Engaged 4 Change (An extension of Youth.gov): Current Events
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Know Your Rights: Student Walkouts & Political Speech
Additionally, Child Trends has put together a list of resources and suggestions for adults who care for children indirectly affected by a school shooting: Resources to Help Children in the Wake of a School Shooting.
We sincerely hope that our legislators can act from a place of compassion, not fear, and address this issue with reasoned, non-partisan measures that help to assure that our youth feel safe in their schools and communities. We continue to be inspired by youth-led advocacy efforts; we will do everything we can to support and empower young people to achieve their goals. #StandingStrong
About the Author
Patricia Paluzzi, CNM, DrPH, President and CEO of Healthy Teen Network, has been active in the fields of reproductive, and maternal and child health for over 40 years, as a clinician, researcher, administrator, and advocate. Her clinical and content expertise spans the full scope of midwifery care, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, high-risk maternal child health (including pregnant teens), incorporating men into clinical services, and trauma-informed approaches.