Teaching kids to deal with stress as part of answer to school violence, Carney says

Gov. John Carney takes part in a mindfulness exercise with students at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in Wilmington. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Gov. John Carney takes part in a mindfulness exercise with students at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in Wilmington. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

When it comes to making schools safer, Delaware Gov. John Carney says teaching kids how to deal with the stress of life is an important element.

Carney began Tuesday by meditating alongside kindergartners at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in Wilmington. Students there have been starting the day with a mindfulness program as part of a $100,000 Opportunity Grant the school received last year. While not specifically designed to prevent a shooting, the program helps give kids tools to deal with stress and trauma.

“It’s got to be a comprehensive approach to school safety and safety in our communities,” Carney said. “I personally believe that the mindfulness part of it is really important for, particularly, children dealing with incredible stress in their lives.

“It’s a way for them to deal with that,” he said. “It’s also a way for schools, teachers and personnel to understand children who are having those challenges so we can get ahead of them, frankly, from a mental health perspective.”

Carney also supports pushing legislation to restrict access to weapons for those under treatment for mental illness. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act would prohibit anyone who has been committed to a hospital for treatment of a mental condition from owning a firearm. The bill also calls for keeping guns from violent criminals who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty but mentally ill, or those found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

On Monday, Carney said Delaware would join a multi-state partnership aimed at preventing gun violence.

“Working together, states can take action that will directly confront the threat of gun violence and reduce the toll it takes on our communities,” Carney said. “This partnership will help us better share data across state borders, intercept the flow of illegal guns, and provide law enforcement with more tools to stop violence before it happens.”

Other states in the partnership include New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. Puerto Rico also joined the coalition with Delaware on Monday.

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