Treat gun violence like public health issue, Kent ISD School Board says
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The Kent ISD School Board is joining more than 200 groups and organizations nationwide in calling for a public health approach to preventing school and community gun violence.
An interdisciplinary group of violence prevention experts developed a "Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America." The effort was launched in response to the 17 students and staff killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
"We need a change in mindset and policy from reaction to prevention. Prevention entails more than security measures and begins long before an incident occurs,'' according to the school board's resolution passed May 21.
''We need a comprehensive public health approach to gun violence that is informed by scientific evidence and free from partisan politics.''
The school board's resolution comes on the heels of the May 18 shooting at a Santa Fe High School in Texas that left 10 dead and 10 injured. A 17-year-old student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is the alleged shooter.
Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Caniff said the move to join the national effort to sign on to a public health approach to address gun violence was initiated by staff. He said the National Parent Teacher Association is among those in support of the call to action.
Locally, the Michigan Association of School Psychologist and Michigan Psychological Association are on the growing list of organizations supporting the effort.
Robert Jagers, a developmental psychologist and associate professor at the University of Michigan, was among the 19 interdisciplinary group of violence prevention experts.