Updated: Oct 11, 2018
“Was there a part of you that was like, ‘This isn’t real. This could not happen at my school?’” a reporter asked of young Paige Curry, a student of Santa Fe High School. “There wasn’t,” she replied. “It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too.”
The tragic events in Santa Fe, Texas and in Georgia last week have yet again resulted in the needless loss of life and injury to American children and teachers. We have had 22 such incidents already this year in America. Our nation’s schools and communities should be safe places for our children to grow and learn. Instead, students are subject to active shooter drills and expectations that they may be the next victims of a fatal assault. This is not only unacceptable, it is preventable, but our elected officials still have not taken any proactive measures to address the issue.
Quite the contrary, our leaders seem to be actively avoiding evidence-based information while offering patch-work fixes and pointed fingers. Mental illness is incorrectly blamed for the rise in gun violence, yet funding for those in need of mental healthcare, child welfare, or social services has been cut across the country. Despite evidence that gun owners are more likely to become victims of gun violence, there is an insistence that Americans need guns to defend themselves.
Unless people in all communities step up to demand comprehensive changes in laws, policies, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors we can expect continued violence and a repeat of the tragedies we have seen so many times this year alone. We cannot accept these acts of violence as routine within America. It is time for our elected officials to stop the cycle of platitudes and inaction after these devastating events. It is time for change. It is time for them to do something.
The National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV) is an overarching group of individuals, organizations, agencies, coalitions, and groups that embrace a national, multi-disciplinary and multicultural commitment to violence prevention across the lifespan. NPEIV is committed to reducing interpersonal violence and its consequences. It is our mission to make the prevention of interpersonal violence a national and international priority and to encourage healthy relationships by linking science, practice, policy and advocacy.
NPEIV calls upon Congress to stop ignoring the epidemic of gun violence in America and enact meaningful, sensible reforms to protect our children, our communities, and all Americans. We need to train teachers and community leaders to recognize the immediate and long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences. We need to ensure those who interact most with our children understand trauma-informed approaches to bullying, child abuse, sexual harassment, and exposure to domestic, community, and all other forms of violence. By tackling these issues at the source, we can help stop the self-perpetuating cycle of violence while helping to raise a generation of healthier, happier, and safer children.
Recently we have seen a number of anti-violence movements such as #MeToo, #Enough, and #TimesUp. People are tired of waiting and starting to take action. We join with the students of Santa Fe and all those before it. Join us in telling our president and Congress that it is #TooMuch. Speak with your words, speak with your vote, and speak up against the violence our children are facing. It is time to act against all forms of interpersonal violence, abuse, oppression, and discrimination.