In the 2019 book “Teaching While the World is on Fire,” Pedro A. Noguera, a professor of education and director for the Center for the Transformation of Schools at UCLA, shares an essay titled, “Cops or Counselors? Responding to the Threat of School Shootings with Care Rather Than Fear.”
Noguera wrote the original essay on the heels of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but I happened upon his words days after the shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.
In his poignant essay, Noguera shares findings from research carried out by the U.S. Secret Service with recommendations on how to prevent future school shootings.
One finding in the research – that we have the ability to support solutions to today in Allen County and Fort Wayne – is that “most attackers had experienced significant losses or personal failures and many had difficulty coping with these events. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.”
The Secret Service and Nogeura both suggest that access to counselors and holistic health care (including mental health support) would help these young people cope with adverse childhood experiences in a timely manner.
Contrary to the heated responses by public officials, keyboard warriors and the news (arm teachers and/or disarm everyone else), the research from the Secret Service and UCLA both point most emphatically to the need for increased trust in and support for our young people.
Did you know there are two organizations locally that provide the kind of support the Secret Service and Noguera reference in their findings?
Courageous Healing, Inc. is a local mental health care provider focused on providing culturally competent and trauma-informed care to “help individuals and families heal and grow personally, vocationally, and relationally. [They] help [people] navigate depression, anxiety, grief, self-esteem, anger, stress, relationships, and more.”
Courageous Healing focuses its services on patients of diverse backgrounds – and it is the front line of defense for trauma and suffering for so many in our community.
Additionally, Children’s Health Collaborative is a project of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, founded by public health officials and currently led by a brilliant and passionate leader, that convenes and collaborates with community partners who are all working hard for children in our community.
Together, CHC and its partners advocate for evidence-based, community-specific initiatives to help every child in Fort Wayne reach their full potential.
Both CHC and Courageous Healing focus on trauma-informed care, addressing adverse childhood experiences, and treating our youth and their families as whole people deserving of health, healing and humanity.
I know that the answer to the gun-violence problem in our country is manifold. But while we figure out the multifaceted approach we must take, I challenge Fort Wayne and Allen County to step up today and donate to one or both of these organizations that are helping our kids heal and thrive and choose a better way of living.
Kristin Giant is a community volunteer, mental health advocate and the cofounder of the Family & Friends Fund for Southeast Fort Wayne.