AAP President Kyle E. Yasuda, MD, FAAP, issued the following statement in response to the terrorist attack that took place at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, leaving 50 dead and 50 more injured, including children:
“Although we are the American Academy of Pediatrics, our dedication to children’s health and well-being does not stop at our shores. We condemn the acts of hate that led to the massacre in New Zealand, mourn the lives lost and support the families and survivors who will never be the same. All children and their families should be accepted for who they are, including the religion they practice and the countries they come from. Diversity should be celebrated, not targeted in acts of violence.
“As yet another mass shooting event shatters the safety of a community, we reiterate our support of common-sense gun safety policies. Places of worship, schools, concert venues, movie theaters—these should be routine experiences of childhood, not sites of horrific acts of gun violence that leave large numbers of people dead and their communities forever changed. Pediatricians offer our deepest condolences to the children, adolescents, young adults and parents who were affected by this tragedy.
“Pediatricians know far too well that violence can have lasting effects on children, even if they are only learning about it through the media. The AAP has resources available for clinicians at AAP.org and for families at HealthyChildren.org to understand how to talk to children about tragic events and shield them from harmful images and news reports.”