Ask the Bronx District Attorney to Drop ALL Charges Against Social Worker Juan Rodriguez

Ask the Bronx District Attorney to Drop ALL Charges Against Social Worker Juan Rodriguez

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Nicole Steward, MSW started this petition to Bronx City Council and

This week a father in New York, Juan Rodriguez, left his 1-year-old twins in a hot car during his shift as a social worker at a veterans hospital and they died. In his own words, Mr. Rodriguez sobbed in the courtroom that he, “blanked out” and forgot to drop them off at daycare. He was in survival mode, like many of us in the helping fields.

As a social worker, I have experienced frightening memory lapse due to the overwhelming stress of my work. Going on autopilot due to stress and sleep deprivation is a serious threat to memory and none of us are immune to these kinds of “blank outs”. Those of us in the helping fields are just more susceptible because of the trauma-based stress of our work.

When the stress response is continuously activated by the cumulative exposure to a number of critical incidents/traumatic content in our work, it changes how our brains function. This is vicarious trauma. Some studies suggest that constant activation of the stress response may damage the area of the brain generally used for memory, the hippocampus. This part of the brain is compromised when the amygdala, the fear center of the brain, is activated due to stress and it triggers a stress response in the body. 

When this stress response is continuously activated by the cumulative exposure to a number of critical incidents or traumatic content, it changes how our brains function. This is vicarious trauma.

While we appreciate that the case has been put on hold by the Bronx District Attorney and a judge has refused to convene a grand jury for now, however Juan Rodriguez could still face charges for manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Given the devastatingly accidental nature of this incident due to vicarious traumatic-stress, I believe it is imperative that all charges be permanently dropped against this father so that he can grieve and heal this unimaginable loss.

Please sign this Change.org petition to see that all charges are dropped.

 

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