Statement by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine on the South Florida High School Shooting
Statement by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine on the South Florida High School Shooting
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Tony Pals,
(202) 238-3235, (202) 288-9333 (cell)

Statement by AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine on the South Florida High School Shooting

February 15, 2018

The deadly and senseless mass shooting yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida serves as yet another horrific episode that requires our nation’s leaders to take concrete steps to stem the tide of gun violence afflicting American schools and society.

We express our condolences to the victims, their families, and the survivors of this violent attack against students, teachers, and school staff.

It is awful to confront the reality that educational institutions need to cope with violence in their own settings. It is almost overwhelming to imagine that active-shooter drills need to be built into the school day across the country to prevent even more casualties and harm. And it is even worse to think of the pain and fear that students and persons in all sectors of society experience because of these events and their normalization.

Policy makers, school leaders, education researchers and scholars from across all of the sciences, and all citizens need to commit to building upon what we know and investing substantially in the research and data that can allow us to address this pernicious problem.

Collectively, we must help those with hate and rage and support essential preventive mental health services, through education, in schools, and through other forms of intervention. But if these tragedies are to be reduced in number and impact, we must commit to studying the causes, consequences, and mechanisms for prevention and intervention related to violence and the role of firearms.

The federal policy that effectively bans the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting gun violence research must be lifted. For more than 20 years, these restrictions have obstructed the development and implementation of evidence-based policies and programs that can reduce violence and gun-related harm. As with addressing any area of significant disease or malfunction, science should be mobilized and not hindered in its efforts.

It is jarring to have to repeat the message once again that AERA has offered through previous statements on the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School; in Charleston, S.C.; at Umpqua Community College; in Orlando; and in Las Vegas. To be silent would be a disservice to the collective need for leadership across all sectors in society, including education leaders, to press for a new way to keep students and society safe and secure.


Note: AERA has a longstanding commitment to raising awareness of research around issues of school safety, including bullying. Below is a list of selected resources provided by AERA on bullying prevention and school safety.

These AERA bullying prevention and school safety resources are also listed online.

About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.