In 2018, 113 people were killed or injured in school shootings around the United States. The US Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency says 2018 had the highest number of incidents ever recorded, going back to 1970.
The earliest record of school shooting was in 1940 at the University of Virginia. He was shot while trying to break up a riot on campus. He died three days later and was buried at the campus cemetery.
It’s been almost 20 years since the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado happened on April 20, 1999. There had been school shootings before in the country, including at least six the previous year. But this was the deadliest on record, with 13 people killed, millions of people across the United States watched it happen on live television. Though it took place in a small town in Colorado, it was experienced as a national calamity. At the time, it was the deadliest high school shooting in modern U.S. history.
Now it’s not even one of the ten worst.
The United States has become numb to the number of mass shootings occurring yearly. The topic of gun control is highly debated in today’s politics even going as far as suggesting teachers carry weapons during school to protect themselves in case of an active shooter.
After Columbine, Greg Crane asked his wife what her school’s plan for responding to an attack would be. At the time, there was only one response to active shooter threats – a mandated, lockdown-only plan. Crane built ALICE in order to provide more than one option to respond to the threat of violence.
ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. Across the country, 3,700 K-12 schools and 900 universities have implemented ALICE Training since the early 2000s. The U.S. Department of Education has supported teaching adults the fight method, but not students.
Kent State University is one out of the 900 universities to require ALICE training. The program did not become required of all incoming freshmen until after April 2nd, 2014 when there was a campus lockdown due to a shooting in the Bowman parking lot.
“I think it’s vital that we’d get all of our students and faculty prepared information wise, especially for those programs,” said Sgt. Michquel Penn, a member of Kent’s police. “Unfortunately we see so many tragic shootings taking place at the schools it’s definitely vital for the student teachers as well.”
Schools are required to perform lockdown drills in order to prepare students in case someone was to get into the school. Teachers are required to go through active shooter training in order to prepare themselves in case of an emergency.
“I think the training is extremely helpful and critical in today’s society. We have to be more conscientious about our surroundings not just in schools but in malls and movie theaters,” said Carrie Clevidence, a preschool teacher at St. John’s Early Education Center.
Clevidence went through the active shooter training where they watched a video and listened to the 911 recordings from the Columbine shooting. The officers in charge of the session also gave tips on how to disarm the shooter, how to hide their kids, best way to block the doors and make you think of an escape route.
That is total number of victims who have lost their lives since Columbine due to school shootings. These numbers were collected by Abby Hamblin from the San Diego Union Tribune and only include the victims up until April 20, 2018.
Columbine inspired the armed young men who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 and 26 first graders and their instructors at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
After Sandy Hook there became a large debate about arming teachers in order to protect themselves during school shootings. It died down until the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that she believed districts have the flexibility to use federal funds to arm teachers. According to Everytown for Gun Safety 15 states allow concealed carry of some sort on school grounds. Some of those states include Texas, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota allow staff to carry guns on school.
A 2015 CBS News/New York Times poll showed that 57 percent of Americans oppose the idea of arming teachings, however 64 percent of Republicans are in favor of arming teachers.
Shelly Schafer is a licensed gun owner and a teacher in the Sylvania public school district. She has been teaching for over 20 years around the Toledo area.
“As a person who does carry, I personally do not want to carry firearms in the school. Although I have some training in firearms my professional training is educating our youth,” said Schafer.
Schafer said she would do anything to protect her children and even though she is a gun owner, who has had some professional training, she wouldn’t feel comfortable carrying a gun on school property.
The National Education Association surveyed 1,000 of its members and 82 percent of respondents said they would not carry a gun to school even if they had firearms training and were allowed to do so.
School shootings like Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have become the norm in America. People are becoming desensitized to these acts of violence. In 2018 the Pew Research Center conducted a study on children between the ages of 13 to 17, in order to determine how many are worried about a school shooting happening at their school. They also did the study on parents with students in the same age range.
Pew discovered that 57 percent of teens are worried a school shooting could happen in their schools. Parents of teenagers express similar levels of concern as teens themselves, with 63% saying they are at least somewhat worried about the possibility of a shooting happening at their child’s school.
After the shooting at Columbine, many schools increased the number of violence prevention strategies (basically security) after April 1999. Around 63 percent more schools had tighter security procedures.
Approximately 32 percent more schools increased the presence of security and more schools started doing locker searches.
Despite the changes that were made, many school mental health professionals wanted more changes. They wanted changes in regard to having more mental health professionals available in schools, the offering of parenting classes, and putting together conflict resolution programs. However, there is no funding available for these safety measures.
Schools are meant to be places of sanctuary, safety, and learning for children. Students shouldn’t be scared to go to school, a place where they are supposed to learn and grow. 2018 was the worst year for school shootings. We in America have a larger issue than just gun control. Kids should not be getting killed for going to school.