WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Children in the District are exposed to more community violence than their peers across the country.

That’s according to a report published by the D.C. Policy Center.

“It’s heartbreaking and it’s definitely a call to action for us in this community,” said Jasmine Brann, who wrote the article “D.C. students are exposed to more community violence.”

“To act like it’s not happening, to act like watching the news from night to night, and seeing young lives being lost is acceptable, it’s not,” she said.

According to the report, 7.4% of children in the District have been the victim of or witnessed violence in their immediate neighborhood. That’s nearly double the national average of 3.8%.

“We have had students who have lost parents and siblings to gun violence,” said Brann.

Brann is an elementary school principal in D.C. She said she sees the impact community violence is having on children and students firsthand.

“It affects their mental health, creating more instances of anxiety and depression, and it dissuades them from their path. If kids are constantly in this fight or flight kind of position,” she said.

She’s hopeful the article will act as a call to action and bring schools and the community together to help support the needs of children.

“Whether you’re an educator or not, everyone has a role and responsibility in supporting our young people,” she said. “Our kids respond well to relationships, whether you’re a mentor, whether you’re a coach.”

She’s encouraging people to volunteer with schools or organizations to support children. She’d also like to see more mental health resources in schools and school resource officers, which she said can help create stable relationships between teens and adults.

She also believes this support needs to start when kids are young.

“We’ve got to think about our students when they’re three years old,” she said. “How are we empowering our students with self-regulation strategies, executive functioning strategies and how to think critically, how to solve problems and conflicts without involving weapons and acts of violence?”

To read more of the report, visit dcpolicycenter.org.