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Healthy schools need to be safe schools

As the school year comes to a close, what should be a joyous and celebratory time of year has instead become a deeply tragic time for some. We at Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools are heartbroken and grieving the tragic loss of life in Uvalde, Texas, and alarmed by the gun violence we have seen in schools and communities across the country.

As tracked by Education Week, a K-12 education trade publication, there have been 27 school shootings in 2022. The repercussion on each affected community is dramatic and has short- and long-term effects on the health and wellbeing of students, family, and faculty, as well as members of the broader community. Gun violence is a public health crisis that is preventable.

In 2018, Kaiser Permanente established the Task Force on Firearm Injury Prevention to support research studies that explore how physicians and clinicians can help prevent firearm injuries. Leaders and internal experts in all parts of the organization have identified specific actions that enable Kaiser Permanente to contribute our knowledge, experience, and passion to reduce the tragic toll of this public health crisis.

The most recent tragedies in Uvalde, Buffalo, New York; Laguna Woods, California; and Tulsa, Oaklahoma compel us to take bold action to reduce gun violence in America and treat it as the public health crisis that it is. To that end, Kaiser Permanente will establish a new Center for Gun Violence Research and Education with a focus on gun violence prevention through care innovation, research, and education. We will share more details as the center becomes established.

Supporting students and faculty

Schools and districts have been deeply impacted by continued acts of violence and are asking what can be done to support the health and wellbeing of school communities. We hope that these resources can be of support to you.

For your entire school community

  • Thriving Schools’ Resilience in School Environments (RISE) empowers schools to create safe and supportive learning environments by cultivating practices that strengthen the social and emotional health of all school employees and students. These resources support a trauma-informed approach to building a stronger community for students, families, staff, and teachers.
  • Kaiser Permanente has posted expert guidance on how to talk to children and teens about the devastating news of violence in our communities.

For educators

  • It’s important to reach out for support and to take care of your own well-being. This might include health care resources such as mental health and wellness apps, like the tools available to Kaiser Permanente members, or employer-based resources such as an employee assistance program.
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