In aftermath of Newtown shootings, a call for 'meaningful action'

Dec 21, 2012 by Charles Anzalone

The director of the University at Buffalo's Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention is among nine school violence prevention researchers and practitioners in the country who on Dec. 19 released a detailed position statement in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

"The Newtown tragedy is incredibly shocking and saddening," said Amanda B. Nickerson, PhD, director of UB's Alberti Center and associate professor in the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology in UB's Graduate School of Education.

"Uniting with other scholars who study the issues of violence prevention and school safety provided an important opportunity to come to a balanced consensus about the most critical issues that we must face in order to achieve meaningful action in light of this tragedy."

Nickerson was one of the nine co-authors from universities throughout the nation who drafted the statement and who are acting as contacts and spokespeople for the larger group they represent.

The position statement, released through an organization called the Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence, was endorsed by more than 100 professional organizations representing over 4 million professionals from groups such as the American Federation of Teachers, multiple divisions of the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America and other education and mental health associations.

The complete position paper and a list of endorsing organizations is available at curry.virginia.edu/articles/sandyhookshooting.

The statement also earned the endorsement of more than 100 nationally recognized researchers and practitioners, including deans of prominent university colleges of education and social work.

The driving force behind the statement was to communicate scientifically informed principles and recommendations for practitioners, policymakers and the public at large. The co-authors hope the statement will "build consensus on a course of meaningful action."

"We all share a common priority: Keeping our children safe," the researchers and practitioners state. "We need to come together in our communities to share our grief and talk about how we can move forward in light of this tragic event.

"While schools are of paramount concern, the location of a shooting is not its most important feature, although it is the most visible," the document stated. "From the standpoint of prevention, what matters more is the motivation behind a shooting. It is too soon to draw conclusions about this case, but in every mass shooting we must consider two keys to prevention: (1) the presence of severe mental illness and/or (2) an intense interpersonal conflict that the person could not resolve or tolerate."

The group also urged caution about intensifying security within schools.

"We cannot and should not turn our schools into fortresses.  Effective prevention cannot wait until there is a gunman in a school parking lot. We need resources such as mental health supports and threat assessment teams in every and community so that people can seek assistance when they recognize that someone is troubled and requires help."

Explore further: The nostalgia effect: Do consumers spend more when thinking about the past?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Don't walk alone: A bullying prevention primer

Aug 31, 2011

Understanding the line between harmless teasing and abusive bullying can mean the difference between interfering parents and those who help their children overcome painful child abuse, according to the newly appointed director ...

School shootings: What we know and what we can do

Dec 19, 2012

Since the early 1970s school shootings at American elementary, secondary and higher education institutions have been a painful reality for American society. After each incident – like the recent attack in Newtown, CT – ...

Gaga's anti-bullying stance can help, says expert

Sep 26, 2011

Lady Gaga and other celebrities commenting on bullying have the chance to teach young people about the horrors of bullying abuse, says the director of the University at Buffalo's Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying ...

Recommended for you

Perthites wanted for study on the Aussie lingo

7 hours ago

We all know that Australians speak English differently from the way it's spoken in the UK or the US, and many of us are aware that Perth people have a slightly different version of the language from, say, Melbournians - but ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2012
Be careful for what one wishes, you may get it good and hard, as unintended consequences of interventionist iatrogenics. Read Taleb.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2012
"Meaningful action" would be to stop poisoning the minds of children and adults alike.
http://savemylife...-doctor/