It seems almost numbingly regular that the pediatric healthcare community is putting out a statement regarding the loss of innocent life, and in particular innocent children’s lives, at the hands of a single person armed with a high magazine semi-automatic rifle. As we watched the death toll continue to rise throughout the night and early morning hours of May 24th and 25th, we felt our collective hearts break further and our anguish, and anger, grow. For many, it is impossible to not put the images coming out of Robb Elementary School in the small, predominantly Lantinx, community of Uvalde, Texas next to those from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in December of 2012 or Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day of 2018.
This list can continue, for far too long, and yet we find ourselves entering into the same cycle of response/grief/calls for action/normalization. The ACOP agrees with others who are saying it is time to break this cycle. Schools are meant to be a safe place where our nation’s children can go to develop their minds and bodies; to be challenged and to celebrate overcoming those challenges. It is not the place to learn how to hide in closets or under desks, how to barricade a door or safely jump out of a window to run to safety.
Too many families are mourning the loss of a child, and too many children are now permanently changed after experiencing this horror. The ramifications of these events last long after the initial grief and expand much further than Uvalde, or Parkland, or Newtown.
We agree that mental health remains a public health crisis in this country that needs to be addressed, however, now is the time to acknowledge that addressing this is not the answer to stopping the senseless killings. It is time for those in power to make the change to pass common sense firearm regulations. And if they are not willing to, then it is time for we the people to put different people in power who will.
The ACOP stands with the community of Uvalde in this time of need. If you are looking for ways to help, resources can be found at the Office for Victims of Crimes through the US Department of Justice at Resources and Support for the Victims in Uvalde, Texas | Office for Victims of Crime (ojp.gov)
For those looking for resources on how to talk to children about these recent events and with processing these emotions within yourself and your community we recommend visiting the following websites:
- About Us | National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (schoolcrisiscenter.org) (Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles)
- https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Talking-To-Children-About-Tragedies-and-Other-News-Events.aspx (how to talk to children about this)
- https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Talking-To-Children-About-Tragedies-and-Other-News-Events.aspx (confidential resource for physicians).