User Login    
 + Register
News : School Shootings Continue Despite Safety Emphasis
Posted by Randy on 2014/2/3 4:36:07 (741 reads) News by the same author

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite increased security put in place after the massacre at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, there's been no real reduction in the number of U.S. school shootings.

Click to see original Image in a new window

An Associated Press analysis finds that there have been at least 11 school shootings this academic year alone, in addition to other cases of gun violence, in school parking lots and elsewhere on campus, when classes were not in session. Experts say the rate of school shootings is statistically unchanged since the mid- to late-1990s, yet still remains troubling.

"Lockdown" is now part of the school vocabulary.

In Pennsylvania and New Mexico, Colorado and Tennessee, and elsewhere, gunfire has echoed through school hallways, and killed students or their teachers in some cases.

Last August, a gun discharged in a 5-year-old's backpack while students were waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria at Westside Elementary School in Memphis. No one was hurt.

Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, said there have been about 500 school-associated violent deaths in the past 20 years.

The numbers don't include a string of recent shootings at colleges and universities. Just last week, a man was shot and critically wounded at the Palm Bay Campus of Eastern Florida State College, according to police.

Finding factors to blame, rightfully or not, is almost the easy part: bad parenting, easy access to guns, less value for the sanctity of life, violent video games, a broken mental health system.

Stopping the violence isn't.

"I think that's one of the major problems. There are not easy answers," Stephens said. "A line I often use is do everything you can, knowing you can't do everything."

Bill Bond, who was principal at Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky., in 1997 when a 14-year-old freshman fired on a prayer group, killing three female students and wounding five, sees few differences in today's shootings. The one consistency, he said, is that the shooters are males confronting hopelessness.

"You see troubled young men who are desperate and they strike out and they don't see that they have any hope," Bond said.

Schools generally are safer than they were five, 10 or 15 years ago, Stephens said. While a single death is one too many, Stephens noted that perspective is important. In Chicago there were 500 homicides in 2012, about the same number in the nation's 132,000-plus K-12 schools over two decades.

The recent budget deal in Congress provides $140 million to support safe school environments, and is a $29 million increase, according to the office of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

About 90 percent of districts have tightened security since the Newtown shootings, estimates Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Many schools now have elaborate school safety plans and more metal detectors, surveillance cameras and fences. They've taken other steps, too, such as requiring ID badges and dress codes. Similar to fire drills, some schools practice locking down classrooms, among their responses to potential violence.

Attention also has focused on hiring school resource officers, sworn law enforcement officers who are trained to work in a school environment, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers. He said his organization estimates there are about 10,000 of them in the U.S.

Since the shootings at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999, in which two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves, police nationwide have adopted "active shooter" policies where officers are trained to confront a shooter immediately.

"The goal is to stop it, from the law enforcement side, stop it as quickly as you can because we know with an active shooter if you don't stop it, more lives will be lost," Canady said.

Confronting a shooter certainly carries risks.

In Sparks, Nev., math teacher Michael Landsberry was killed in November after calmly approaching a 12-year-old with a gun and asked him to put the weapon down, witnesses said. The boy, who had wounded two classmates, killed himself.

Weingarten said more emphasis needs to be placed on improving school cultures by ensuring schools have resources for counselors, social workers and after-care programs. Many of these kinds of programs were scaled back during budget cuts of recent years.

Experts have said a healthy school culture can prevent such incidents and even lead students to tell adults about classmates who display warning signs that they could commit such violence.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article

Other articles
2015/10/13 15:30:00 - Newtown-Harris Dropping Boys Softball, Adding Boys Baseball
2015/10/13 15:20:00 - Tuesday Accident Claims Life Of Princeton Man
2015/10/13 14:55:15 - Boil Water Advisory Cancelled For NW Grundy County
2015/10/13 14:52:39 - "Harvey" To Be Presented In Gallatin Next Month
2015/10/13 11:35:01 - Granderson, Mets Beat Dodgers 13-7 To Take 2-1 Lead In NLDS
2015/10/13 11:31:33 - Cubs Hit 6 Home Runs, Top Cardinals 8-6 For 2-1 Lead In NLDS
2015/10/13 11:28:21 - Texas Can't Close Out Blue Jays, ALDS Headed Back To Canada For Game 5
2015/10/13 11:16:00 - Christian Rallies For Three-Set Win Over Trenton
2015/10/13 11:10:00 - North Central Missouri College To Host A+ Appreciation And Senior Visit Day
2015/10/13 9:46:05 - Champion Trenton Puts Eight Players On All-District Team
2015/10/13 9:20:44 - Mercer Lady Cardinal Coaches Show For Monday, 10/12/15
2015/10/13 9:10:03 - Grundy R-5 Lady Panther Coaches Show For Monday, 10/12/15
2015/10/13 8:20:00 - Lexington's Win Over Higginsville Shakes Up Class 2 Poll
2015/10/13 8:19:08 - Car-Dog Collision Reported On Highway 6
2015/10/13 6:53:47 - Sixty Eight Bands To Take Part In Missouri Day Marching Festival
2015/10/13 4:23:40 - Real Life Rapunzel Hasn't Cut Hair In 35 Years
2015/10/13 4:12:28 - Two Kansas City Firefighters Die In Building Collapse
2015/10/13 4:00:00 - MU Health Care Increases Security After Threatening Call Promising "Bloodshed"
2015/10/13 3:58:17 - St. Joseph Police Use Pepper Spray To End 6 Hour Standoff
2015/10/13 3:53:27 - Playboy Magazine To End Publishing Fully Nude Female Photos
2015/10/12 17:02:44 - Weekend Accident Reported Near Unionville
2015/10/12 16:56:43 - Bucklin Father, Daughter, Injured In Weekend Accident
2015/10/12 16:51:22 - Trenton FFA Team Wins 1st Place At Osborn Event
2015/10/12 16:46:15 - Health Department Announces Results Of "Second-Hand Smoke" Survey
2015/10/12 16:29:48 - Princeton Chamber Plans Saturday Night Of Dancing and Dinner
2015/10/12 16:22:04 - Weekend Crash Injures Marceline Woman
2015/10/12 16:13:37 - Tri-County School Board Meets
2015/10/12 16:03:23 - What A Rally! Royals Overtake Houston Late, Force Game 5
2015/10/12 10:57:17 - House Fire Reported West Of Trenton
2015/10/12 10:50:00 - Solid Waste Collection Event Will Be Saturday In Bethany

Bookmark this article at these sites


Listen to KTTN-FM