Experts issue statement on school shooting

Al De Vos, the gang prevention coordinator, talks to the kids at the Si Se Puede learning center last week about bullying.

Local gang prevention coordinator notes local bullying prevention

Al De Vos, the gang prevention coordinator for San Benito County, shared a statement written by a group of nine researchers and practitioners – endorsed by hundreds of others – on school violence prevention in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14.

“The centerpiece efforts of our local violence prevention strategies (Olweus Bullying Prevention Project and Gang Resistance Education and Training) provide outcomes campus wide that are perfectly aligned with the recommendations,” De Vos said, via email. “While our violence prevention efforts are well chosen, our efforts need to expand to reach all schools, youth service providers, youth sports leagues and throughout the community.”

The nine-page statement was endorsed by more than 100 professional organizations and endorsed by many more individuals across the nation, including university professors in a myriad of disciplines.

The driving force behind the statement was to communicate scientifically informed principles and recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and the public at large.

The statement confronts some key issues that are based on research, such as taking a balanced approach to prevention which “includes a variety of efforts addressing physical safety, educational practices, and programs that support the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students.”

The statement notes the importance of improving access to mental health care to both adults and child, while also keeping communication lines open so that those who suspect a threat are comfortable reporting it to authorities.

See the full statement in the attached PDF.

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