The Newtown tragedy: from coping to prevention
By Guest Blogger on December 18th, 2012
As the nation tries to cope with the tragic Newtown, CT school shooting, the first concern continues to be support for the families who lost their children and others at the school. Counseling and support, along with the personal and compassionate responses from family and friends, are among the most important resources for those directly affected. And across the country, there is a need to respond to the anxiety and fears of many families, students, teachers and communities.
Looking ahead, President Obama’s comments in Newtown included a pledge. He said: “In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental-health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
I spoke with our partners, Drs. Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor, Co-directors at the Center for Mental Health at UCLA regarding the issue of prevention and they shared the following…
“From a school perspective, usually this means revisiting crisis prevention planning and response. While crisis response is absolutely critical, we know that schools are at the heart of a community and there is much more we can do to support the important role they play in our society.
“As the President moves forward, this is the time to bring to the table plans for developing a unified and comprehensive approach for schools and communities to work together on prevention as well important ‘learning supports’ that ensure all children are receiving both the instructional support and social/emotional and psychological support they need in order to be productive citizens and navigate school and life. Through efforts like our collaboration with Scholastic, we can all play an important part in being intentional about how we move forward from this devastating event that likely could have been prevented.
“In reacting to this tragedy, we all need to bring forward new ways of addressing these issues of prevention, and we need to escape old ideas that interfere with moving forward. So as you strive to comprehend and cope with the tragic events in Newtown, we invite you to share your perspective.
“What thoughts do you have about how schools and communities can work together to more effectively prevent and respond to young people’s needs?
“Let us know what you think; we will share major ideas with policy makers.”
– Howard Adelman & Linda Taylor