Attorney General Henry Releases ‘teenTALK’ Report, Highlighting Impacts of Gun Violence on Students

June 25, 2024 | Topic: Peoples AG

In recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Month, the report is released as a tool to help schools and communities better support their young people

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry has issued a ‘teenTALK’ report on the impacts of gun violence on teenagers, following her recent roundtable discussions with students at several districts across the Commonwealth.

Attorney General Henry visited four school districts during the 2023-24 school year — Philadelphia, McKeesport, Hazelton, and Steelton-Highspire — for candid conversations with students about how gun violence impacts their mental health and what changes could make them feel safer.

The ‘teenTALK’ report is being offered to Pennsylvania schools and communities as a tool to help advance initiatives and strategies that promote student learning, safety, and community involvement.

“This report captures the lessons we learned from honest discussions with future leaders who want to see change and want to have a role in making those changes realities in their neighborhoods,” Attorney General Henry said. “Until every student can grow up free from the scourge of gun violence, we must continue to identify and root out damaging behaviors while offering support resources to help students thrive.”

During the roundtable sessions, students shared how they experience and perceive gun violence and other acts of violence in their communities. Some students talked about their lived experiences of losing family members and other loved ones, and many expressed frustration with having to adapt to gun violence as a too-common occurrence in their lives.

Students identified these priority areas of improvement:

  • Better communication and trust between school officials and students, so the unknown doesn’t make coping harder.
  • Additional options for mental health services are needed to provide adequate support for students.
  • Funding and resources for programming like social emotional learning and conflict resolution/peer mediation should be prioritized.

This ‘teenTALK’ report is being issued following the end of the school year so that administrators and teachers have time to review and make any adjustments to strategies they see fit.

The schools visited by Attorney General Henry are among many participating districts in the Office of Attorney General’s Safe2Say Something program. The program allows students to anonymously report concerns or incidents of violence and threats at their schools and communities involving gun violence, bullying, and threats of self-harm.

The roundtable sessions and resulting report are part of the Office of Attorney General’s continued commitment to helping communities cope with gun violence while maintaining enforcement efforts to remove illegally possessed firearms from neighborhoods and holding offenders accountable.

This report is being made available to every school district in the Commonwealth, and is available to be read HERE.


# # #