Youth, Parent, Education and Civil Rights Educational Justice Coalitions Release Statement on Stoneman Douglas High School
In response to the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Alliance for Educational Justice, Dignity in Schools Campaign and Journey for Justice Alliance Release the Following Joint Statement
“A tragedy of this magnitude will be felt in the Parkland community long after the news cameras leave and our attention is drawn elsewhere. It is hard to fathom the pain that students, educators, and families in Parkland are feeling right now, but our communities are familiar with the trauma, pain, and difficulty of navigating the healing processes that are needed to come together after inter-communal violence shakes a community to its core. We know that prioritizing comprehensive social, emotional, and mental health supports, trauma informed care and community building practices are necessary for rebuilding the sense of safety, love, and communal care that should be the foundation of our learning environments and neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, too often after these kinds of tragedies, the response is to prioritize and further embed invasive security measures and increased law enforcement presence, surveillance and activity in schools throughout the country. The impulse to police school communities will not prevent further tragedies and will be counterproductive towards building safe, nurturing, and supportive learning environments. We have to fundamentally rethink safety by centering the social, emotional, and mental health needs of young people and providing schools and communities with the resources and supports necessary to address the root causes of issues that are driving their pain, trauma and isolation. Schools need to be radically equipped to bring students closer to a supportive community and less inclined to disappear young people back into our communities where it becomes harder to wrap them in the supports they need.
We don’t know yet know what motivated this young person to take the life of so many of his peers. We do know that we won’t create learning environments that are able to address the root causes of the issues young people are struggling with until we de-emphasize school safety measures that rely on policing and security, and shift the paradigm. We must prioritize the creation of school environments that center the social, emotional, and mental health needs of young people and their communities.”
Onyx Walker, Youth Leader, Alliance for Educational Justice and Urban Youth Collaborative
Hashim Jabar, Parent and Co-Chair, Dignity in Schools Campaign and Racial Justice NOW!