Can We Prevent School Shootings?

The December, 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed the lives of twenty children and six adults shocked the world.   The call for greater school safety following this tragedy led to virtually every state legislature in the United States introducing new laws to make schools safer.  

Along with laws to improve school security being passed in twenty states, communities across the country have spent millions of dollars beefing up school security.  This includes installing metal detectors, electronic door locks, bullet-proof glass, intruder alarms, and security cameras to keep school grounds under continuous surveillance.    Considering the cutbacks in public education that are becoming far too common these days, spending money on security measures usually means making sacrifices elsewhere.   Whether this means larger classroom sizes, fewer teachers, or less spending on textbooks and other educational materials, the fear of future school shootings is definitely having a dramatic impact on the kind of education children are receiving.

But is this fear actually justified?   While every parent needs to worry about the safety of their children, the kind of mass casualty events such as what happened at Sandy Hook are still relatively rare.   According to a 2010 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 to 34 school-age children were victims of homicide at school every year from 1992 to 2010.  By contrast however,  homicides involving children were overwhelmingly more likely to occur outside of school   In the 2009-2010 period alone, 19 school-associated homicides occurred compared to 1,377 homicides outside of school during that same period.

To read more, check out my Huffington Post piece here.


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