By Faith Parlapiano
Students already stress about tests, friendships, learning, and their GPA — they should not have to be worried whether or not they are going to make it home at the end of the day, as well. In the first 21 weeks of school, there were 23 school shootings (Ahmed & Walker). Many students and teachers were injured and killed while just going about their daily lives. Something must be done to stop school shootings.
The majority of shootings happen in gun free zones because the shooter knows there is no way for teachers and students to defend themselves, which gives the gunman the feeling of safety. Increasing gun knowledge and training people to use firearms correctly so that they are able to defend themselves is possibly the best option to protect schools. Arming responsible school staff who have gone through extensive background checks and proper training will make schools a difficult target for shooters. The gunmen will know that they will face consequences the moment they step through school doors with a firearm and there are trained adults ready to fire back in order to protect the students.
Even if people disagree with the idea of arming school personnel, they should at least be open to the idea of increasing school security on campus. Having more school resource officers on duty around campus and forcing students and staff to go through security scans prior to entering campus might be a step in the right direction.
Another way to decrease shootings would be to stop giving the shooters notoriety and fame via newspapers, television, and social media. The shooter might think he or she will gain attention and recognition by committing horrible acts such as shooting up a school. Letting their names be anonymous and instead focusing on the victims of the shootings might decrease the desire to commit such horrific crimes. For example, a 14-year-old who shot up an elementary school in 2016, idolized many mass shooters and was part of the “true crime community” on Tumblr, which is a group dedicated to worshipping previous school shooters. This teen’s goal was to be worshipped as the youngest shooter (Cox). If media fails to give infamy to the people who commit these horrific crimes, perhaps this will eliminate a possible motive a shooter may have for shooting up a school.
Finally, if parents would take more time out of their busy schedules to parent their children, it would cut down on violent acts all together. When parents rarely see their children, it can be difficult for them to be fully aware of their child’s mental state. Parents being uninvolved creates a breeding ground for disaster. Children suffering from mental health disorders might find it difficult to talk openly with a parent who is distant with them. Likewise, parents will overlook small details that might be hinting that their child is needing help from a mental health professional. Parents should be aware of the signs of mental health disorders as well as recognizing if their child is a potential danger or threat to themselves or others. Parents can obtain more information as to what signs to look for as well as how they can help their child at https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/news-and-research/recognizing-signs-of-mental-illness-in-your-child/.
Hopefully by incorporating the suggestions above, school shootings will be a thing of the past. People should be focused on living life to the fullest – not worrying about being killed as they go about their daily lives.
Header photo from The Clairemont Times
Ahmed, Saeed, and Christina Walker. “There Has Been, on Average, 1 School Shooting Every Week This Year.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2018, www-m.cnn.com/2018/03/02us/school-shootings-2018-list-trnd/index.html?r=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F.
Cox, John Woodrow. “Inside an Accused School Shooter’s Mind: A Plot to Kill ‘50 or 60. If I Get Lucky Maybe 150.’.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Mar. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/local/inside-a-teen-school-shooters-mind-a-plot-to-kill-50-or-60-if-i-get-lucky-maybe-150/2018/03/68cc673c-1b27-11e8-ae5a-16e60e4605f3_story.html.