In February of this year there was a mass shooting at Parkland High School, Florida, with 17 dead and many wounded. The shooter is a 19-year-old young man and a former student at this school. Just two weeks ago on May 18th, tragedy struck once again at the very core of our most vulnerable at Santa Fe High School in Texas. We lost 10 lives with an additional 13 injured. The shooter is a 17-year-old young man and student at the school.
My wife and I and team have been working for the past two years, tirelessly and relentlessly, on studying and learning about trauma and how it affects our children and youth. We know and understand that trauma affects the body, brain, biology, behavior and belief systems- trauma affects the Whole Child. Our government has spent millions of dollars for many years researching and studying the minds of psychopathic killers (serial killers) as well as the minds of terrorists in hopes of understanding the why and cause of their behavior. We believe that it is time to address this same issue of why kids are killing kids.
What is going on in their brains? The brain and the mind control the decision to kill before any weapon is ever picked up and used. We have trauma experts in this very state who have spent many years studying and researching what is going on in the minds of these kids and have answers to many of these sobering questions. Among these are Dr. Bruce Perry, who was called in as the trauma expert at the Branch Davidian massacre and Dr. David Cross, from the Karyn Purvis Child Development Center at TCU, who has spent his life studying the devastating effects of complex developmental trauma.
Just two months ago, we invited over 80 experts that work in every vocation involved with children and youth from all over the state of Texas to meet at a roundtable to discuss and come to an agreement on defining trauma and trauma-informed care.
We were able to collectively decide on these two definitions so that trauma-informed care can be put in place. Trauma-informed care offers principles and strategies that provide caregivers and professionals tools to help heal trauma in children and youth and, God willing, stop their destructive behaviors upon themselves and others.
We will continue to tirelessly and relentlessly go all over the State of Texas working with the experts to educate everyone who touches the life of our children in trauma-informed care so there can be real healing in the lives of these children and youth.
The Governor held a series of roundtable discussions last week to cover a variety of topics including: enhancing firearm safety, school safety, mental health, and preventing threats. I applaud the Governor’s effort on these issues, but there are two areas I feel we need to address more than anything, and that is trauma and trauma informed care.
As we prepare for the 86th Legislative Session, I will stand ready to assist and work closely with the Governor's office on this critical issue of trauma and trauma informed care to ensure that these tragedies do not reoccur.