By Dennis Walto
Children’s Health Fund envisions a future where all of America’s children get the care they need to be healthy and ready to reach their potential in learning and life. A key part of this mission is to activate in times of crisis to serve those most at-risk and we feel that the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 children and educators lost their lives at the hands of an individual with an assault weapon, is a moment for change. While this event stands by itself as a tragedy, since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, more than 430 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings. When seen in this context, we are compelled to stand with students, parents, teachers and a rising chorus of Americans to say Never Again.
Every day, Children’s Health Fund Mobile Medical Clinics – doctors, nurses, social workers and counselors – drive to schools to deliver high-quality medical care to children who need it most. Our programs serve children attending more than 200 schools across the United States every month. If those children cannot be safe at school – a place where many escape the trauma of their life at home – we cannot stand idle. We have always considered our work to be delivering medical care on the front lines of poverty; we never envisioned that schools would become the front line of a war on children.
Children’s Health Fund endorses the March for Our Lives and the Mission Statement which says, “Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.”
We cannot accept the growing fear where every parent sends their child to school wondering if this day might be their last. We can, we must, and we will stop this tragedy.