The National Human Services Assembly Asks: Is There a Better Way to Help Prevent More School Shootings from Taking Place?

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Involving teachers and youth workers in ‘upstream solutions’ and not just lockdowns

National Human Services Assembly

Getting school and youth development organization personnel to this state of understanding and action would surely take a lot of training but, as we are learning about school safety training, it is both possible and necessary.

Given the national debate in the wake of the Newtown school shootings about the issues of gun regulation, school safety, and violence in the media, the National Human Services Assembly, which represents more than 80 major human services organizations, today argued for the critical importance of a new approach – early identification and treatment of individuals who might commit a crime like this while actively working to connect them, long before an incident can take place, to their communities.

Irv Katz, President and CEO of the National Human Services Assembly, said, “School personnel are increasingly well practiced at locking down classrooms and protecting the children in their care when these incidents arise. What is also needed, however, is an upstream solution that ensures that people with whom we entrust the care of our children can help us assure that every child has healthy community connections, can identify children who are at risk of harm to themselves or others, and know what actions to take.”

This approach would need to be comprehensive, he noted, and would involve:

•Universal training for personnel who work with youth in schools and community settings;

•Proactive efforts by these organizations and parents to ensure that all children are connected to their community in meaningful ways at every stage of development;

•Connecting with parents, both in preventive ways but also in very direct and helpful ways when signs of concern are identified; and

•School-based and school-linked services to identify and treat children who are off track emotionally and socially.

He added, “Getting school and youth development organization personnel to this state of understanding and action would surely take a lot of training but, as we are learning about school safety training, it is both possible and necessary.”

About the National Human Services Assembly
The National Human Services Assembly is an association of more than 80 national nonprofit human service organizations working collaboratively, though the National Assembly, to continuously improve research, policy and practice relative to human services.

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Rosalia Scampoli
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