Here’s How We Can Eliminate School Shootings in 10 Reasonable Steps
The unfortunate and sad truth is that school shootings in the US are unmatched in other countries, and yet, this number continues to rise. Why is it that we have not, however, been able to figure out how to prevent school shootings properly? Below are some suggestions that could aid in preventing school shootings.
- Start with gun laws. Strengthen them. With the inconsistency of gun laws across the country, it’s relatively easy for people to travel around the country and obtain guns in places where it’s easier to get and return to another state with stricter gun laws. By strengthening gun laws, we are not restricting it from everyone. Strengthening gun laws will ensure that those who have ownership of a gun are mentally stable and have proper training.
- Speaking of mental health, many of the active shooters in schools have been mentally unstable. If this is the root of the problem, we should be tackling it head on with the improvement of mental health services. By changing the culture around mental health, removing the stigma, and making access to mental health resources more readily available, we can help with the issue of school shootings among other problems that arise from the lack of services available for mental health.
- Increase school counselors. School counselors are a necessary part of education, and as school shootings have increased, the need for mental health resources that are readily available in schools is essential.
- Improve security protocols at schools. Though we don’t want schools to feel like a prison, it’s also a place that needs to maintain it’s security measures for our students’ sake. Thinking of this as a preventative measure rather than an invasion of privacy could help with the idea of increasing security protocols.
- Focus on the victims and families, rather than the shooter. News and media outlets usually show coverage of the shooter, often providing details about his life history. But far too often, the families and the victims are forgotten, when we should be honoring their life, which may have been lost in the shooting. By focusing on the victims and families, we can see the damage that school shootings have on people, and hopefully, deter this from happening in the future.
- Incorporate lessons of emotional and social skills. Unfortunately, many school shooters tend to be current or former students, administration, or staff – those who have a direct connection to the school. By incorporating lessons where students can take control of their emotional and social skills, we can tackle issues of strengthening mental health early on.
- Monitor social media use. Violence is prevalent throughout social media and other media outlets. By monitoring the amount of social media use that our children are exposed to, we can impact their exposure to violence.
- Decrease exposure to violence in media. With so much real and pseudo violence on television, video games, social media, websites, etc., this might have effects on what’s happening in the real world. By decreasing exposure to violence in the media, we would not be swayed by images and other footage that may glorify this type of abuse.
- Create and implement a system of safe reporting. If students or teachers are hearing someone discuss anything about hurting others or themselves with a gun, there should be a known protocol to report something like this, and this could also be implemented via training with all students, staff, and teachers.
- Involve parents and communities. Including parents and districts in the efforts to end gun violence will continue to spread awareness, as all as open up the schools to more resources that parents and the broader community may have access to.
Schools are supposed to be a safe, welcoming environment for our children and educators, so, regrettably, school shootings are such a significant issue nationwide. With intentional and united efforts of our leadership, educators, policymakers, families, and students, there is hope that this tragic problem may be diffused. We can and should create these safe spaces for our children, just as we have promised them.