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5 Things We Can Do to Prevent School Shootings

John Vassiliou, Staff Writer

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Over two weeks ago, we all watched in horror as over a dozen students in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were gunned down by a ruthless murderer, who I cannot in polite context begin to describe in this article.

Families’ lives were forever changed and kids forever shocked as the effects of this premeditated killing spree begin to take hold.

Many questions have been raised about the problems leading to this tragedy and what could have been done to prevent such a heinous act.

Together I believe we should see this as an opportunity to dig deeper into the issue of school shootings and what can be done both locally and legislatively to solve the problem. I believe there are some methods our schools should adopt to better protect the lives of students, faculty, and lead to the insurance that another act like the one we saw in Florida will not be repeated.

 

1) More Police in Schools:

You may get a feeling of intimidation when you see the school resource officer walk by you. Calm down, he isn’t here to get in your business or raid your social circles. He is here to protect you and the rest of the school.

Unfortunately, with the size of WA and the difficulty he may face if ever involved in an active shooter situation, I believe that one officer on school grounds isn’t sufficient to deal with a shooter who could be better armed and know his way around. The element of surprise mixed with confusion and chaos are these monsters’ bread and butter. 

I believe we should have more armed officers on the school premises at all times, which will do two things. It will deter potential attackers from seeing the school as a target, and it will immediately offer more resources for first responders. Even if an attack were carried out under these circumstances, the number of lives lost would be significantly reduced, looking to most other cases of school shootings where the assailant is mostly, if not always, stopped by police.

After all, past school shooters such as the Townville shooter decided to attack an elementary school over a middle school simply because it had no armed security.

2) More Door Security:

We’ve all known that if someone is using the wrong door to get inside and someone is standing there, they’ll most likely help the person out and open the door through common courtesy. Sadly, this is something that needs to change.

Gone are the days where we can trust the random stranger. We need to instill as a school, not a feeling of fear or insecurity, but mutually understood safety. At doors, all but the main entrance should have signs telling people coming to the building that the only usable entrance should be the front door. The school should also institute a policy for students that if we go outside for any reason, we have to go through the front door again, even if your friend is holding the door for you.

We could also press for metal detectors in the entrance to the building, granted this may make getting into the building in the morning more difficult, but it would be a necessary trade for more safety. 

Statistics on this data is mixed but it would definitely be a deterrent to potential shooters if they knew that there was the threat of getting caught before even getting past the door.

 

3) Constant Up-to-Date Surveillance:

As was the case with the Florida shooting, the cameras were on a 20 minute time delay, this made it difficult for the person at the camera station to effectively tell deputies where the shooter currently was.

If the school doesn’t already, they should get rid of any time delay on the cameras, to make it more helpful in an active shooter situation. They should also look to expand their camera network around the school to cover any potential blind spots that may exist, as these shooters commonly do extensive planning before their attack, and any potential barriers that can be put in their way through cameras whether it be an early warning, or constant updates to police, should be utilized.

 

4) More A.L.I.C.E. Drills:

It’s a wonder why we have more fire drills than we do active shooter drills. The last school fire occurred on December 1, 1958, and since then we’ve had mandatory drills.

With there being more school shootings then there have ever been school fires, it would be more effective for the school to take the time they would spend on a fire drill and instead shift it to an A.L.I.C.E. drill. We should still have fire drills, but much more infrequently then shooter drills.

 

5) Let Teachers Arm Themselves:

In my ideal utopia, there are no guns or a need for them, but unfortunately we live in the real world where terrible things are always a possibility. Realize I said let teachers arm themselves rather than arm teachers. I think that if a teacher feels they want to have the ability to protect their class and themselves there should be nothing stopping them. I can rarely find a case where a sign saying Gun Free Zone has ever stopped a shooting. Teachers who wish to bring a personal firearm to school should have it allowed under strict conditions, that can even vary from school to school. For example, a school with a high police presence shouldn’t see the need for letting teachers arm themselves, while a school without as many officers should pursue the potential opportunity. These conditions should require the teacher to register their firearm with a local police department, attend mandatory training, and pass a test held by law enforcement. Again, it would be better to have more police rather than armed teachers, but any potential deterrent should be taken advantage of. Looking at the statistical data from the homicide center; there have been cases of teachers using firearms in homicides, but at an extremely low percentage on school property, and no evidence of a teacher ever using a firearm on a student. I urge you to read the statistics for yourself and see the conclusions and hypothesis the analyzers make.

http://homicidecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Teachers-with-Guns-RESEARCH-REPORT-FINAL.pdf

 

We all want to live in a peaceful society, but to do so we must also exercise caution. I wish we could have a society that more closely resembled the early 1900’s where people would help each other out and lend a hand, where we all trusted each other just a bit more, but those days are over and we must now adapt to the new problems our generation will face.

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About the Writer
John Vassiliou, Editor

My name is John Vassiliou, I live in Westford and I am a Junior at Westford Academy. I like studying history, reading, writing and spending time with my...

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