David Chard's Message in Response to Parkland Shooting
February 15, 2018
Dear Wheelock Community,
I woke this morning with those same feelings I have every time there is a tragic shooting in our country: feelings of deep sadness, anger, and helplessness.
Like all of you, I want the killing of children in schools to stop. The very places we strive to support and create safe learning environments have now become places where parents send their children into harm's way. Nothing could be more disruptive to our mission of improving the lives of children and families than the events that have transpired at places such as Columbine, Springfield, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland. Sadly, the list has become too long to mention each incident. Unfortunately, while we prepare professionals to teach children to read, to work with infants and toddlers, to counsel families in need, and to support individuals in crisis, we now have to add helping professionals to come to the aid of families after tragedies like we witnessed yesterday in Parkland. These events punctuate the importance of our teaching mission.
Of course, the other part of our mission is to advocate for change. My feelings of anger and sadness are not assuaged by the consistent lack of action by policymakers who seem more interested in "protecting our way of life" from fictitious harmful intruders or promoting a mythological message of the causes or remedies of poverty than taking evidence-based action to prevent the unnecessary deaths of our young people. Let me be clear, there is ample evidence upon which policy can and should be established that will save lives. Recent research points us to specific policy changes that could eliminate these tragic incidents.
Please consider these two articles from Scientific American:
- 4 Laws That Could Stem the Rising Threat of Mass Shootings
- More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows
If you're not sure how to get started making your voice heard, websites like 5calls.org can help you identify the appropriate representative(s) for your area, explain the issue, and even provide a call script.
It is our responsibility as teachers, social workers, and advocates for children and families to amplify our voice at a time when our country needs action. While school shootings are not our only concern, these are actions that mandate a response from people who care. Please find a way to make a difference.
David J. Chard, Ph.D.