Cornell, Bradshaw join coalition issuing call to action to prevent gun violence
In response to the Parkland school shooting, a national, interdisciplinary group of violence prevention experts, including Drs. Dewey Cornell and Catherine Bradshaw from the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, developed a “Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America.
The group laid out a three-tiered public health approach to protect children and adults from gun violence, which includes eight policy recommendations around implementing gun control legislation, improving mental health services and threat assessment, and making broad improvements to school discipline and school climate.
“While security measures are important, they are insufficient,” said Dr. Dewey Cornell, Bunker Professor of Education at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. “We need to shift our mindset and policy from reaction to prevention, which begins long before a gunman enters the school.”
In less than a week, the statement has won the endorsement of 57 national organizations that represent over five million professionals, including: American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Committee for Children, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Education Association, National PTA, and Society for Prevention Research. This call-to-action advocates for three levels of prevention that include:
- Universal approaches to promoting safety and well-being;
- Practices to reduce risk and increase protective factors for youth experiencing difficulties; and
- Interventions for individuals where violence appears imminent.
Each of these levels offers a distinct set of policy recommendations, beginning with a national call-to-action to promote positive school climate and a ban of all assault-style weapons. Along with improved mental health services and threat assessment practices, the authors of the statement also call for policies such as: universal background checks, removal of barriers to sharing safety-related information, and gun violence protection orders.
Leading organizations and individuals from across the country are signing on to build national consensus around the plan—and compel state and federal legislatures to enact these prevention-focused policies.
“This important call to action reflects the input and support of numerous researchers and professional organizations spanning multiple fields,” said Catherine Bradshaw, professor and associate dean at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. “It is our sincere hope that this report helps to focus policies, programs, and resources on issues related to the promotion of school safety and mental health, and address community gun violence more broadly.”