School shootings are one of the newest forms of terrorism in our world. Almost every week we hear about some type of major act of school violence happening here in the U.S. But what is being done to prevent them? Let’s take a look at some statistics first. There have been 12 school shootings already this year, six of these resulted in death and three with serious injuries. Since 2013 there have been nearly 300 school shootings. That’s an average of about one shooting every week. Of the first 160 incidents, 53% of them occurred in K-12 schools. The other 47% occurred in colleges and universities. This violence is obviously getting way out of hand and something needs to be done to help stop them.
In 2016, the CDC found nearly 90 percent of public schools had a written plan for responding to school shootings, and 70 percent of those schools had drilled students on the plan. Federal agencies recommend a run, hide, fight protocol for schools, with the fight component meant only for adults. Our district trained teachers and students with a program known as ALICE. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. The program taught students what to do in the case of an active shooter in the building and how to, as a last resort, defend yourself from the shooter. We recently experienced a shooting scare just a couple weeks ago. Our schools are now implementing new security precautions such as purchasing an x-ray machine to see into book bags, monitoring all doors at all times, and even arming some trained security guards on school grounds. This upgraded security, I believe, will do a lot to help prevent an attack on the students and staff of our schools.
But who even decides to partake in such a horrible act of violence? Many of these school shootings have been traced back to bullying. Bullying is a very controversial topic and it has many repercussions, school massacres being one of them. In most school shooting incidents, the shooters intentionally injured or killed at least one other person with a gun (an act other groups defined as targeted violence). 71 percent of attackers felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked, or injured by others prior to the incident (in several cases that harassment was described as “long-standing and severe”). Bullying has been around since the dawn of time, one caveman thinks he or she better than the other just like one high school student thinks he or she is better than another student. Personally, I think trying to stop bullying all together is a useless cause. However, I do think schools can do more to prevent it from going as far as a shooting or even a fight. Many schools have been training their teachers how to identify and deal with bullying and other schools have even come up with programs to help those who are or who have been bullied.
Preventing school shootings especially starts with us, the students. Telling bullies to stop bullying isn’t going to do much, but telling bystanders to speak up will. If you are seeing or know of someone getting bullied and you don’t do anything to stop it then you are just as guilty as the bully. Speaking up can ultimately lead to weather or not you and your classmates survive the next school shooting in your school. Not only speaking up to bullying but also speaking up when you hear someone threaten to act violently towards students and staff is also a big help. As a student I know kids make jokes all the time about things like this or openly exaggerate how angry they are when they get a bad grade so it can be hard to tell if someone is kidding or not. When you hear something like that you need to speak up because eventually it could be a matter of life and death.