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article imageOp-Ed: Are our children safe at school?

By Star Garcia     Jan 15, 2013 in Crime
Gun violence appears to be on the rise and putting our nation's youth at risk. Are schools failing at keeping our kids safe?
After the two most recent school shootings in the United States parents have been on edge about sending their kids to school. However, the over reaction may be a little delayed. Over the past 12 months there has been ten different school shootings around the country. Not all resulted in deaths but all endangered students and staff.
December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. 20 students and 6 staff members were gunned down in the elementary school. The Wall Street Journal reported that on Friday following the shooting Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told reports that Evil visited this community today.
Looking back on all school shootings in the country the ones that hit every news outlet are the ones with casualties, however the majority of gun related school violence results in only multiple injuries. This should concern parents because many aren't aware of all the additional attacks. But how can these be prevented?
Many law makers, parents and authorities want people to believe that stricter gun laws would help in preventing school shootings. However, the issue is much more then just guns. Schools have a responsibility to keep students safe when on school property and attending school functions. This is where the schools are failing. Schools have also had a tendency to over look bullying and to prevent students in need to get help. Every person who has walked onto school property with the intent to injure and/or kill anyone obviously has some issues. Whether they issues are mental health concerns or emotional problems, there is still a need for early detection.
They way to make schools safer isn't to damage and revoke our 2nd Amendment rights but to teach the teachers and staff have to notice and handle bullying and student depression. Once we are able to take preventative measures like this then we need to implement new security programs for the schools. Many schools and districts are looking to arm their faculty. This isn't the answer either. Non-lethal options would serve better. Classrooms should be equipped with a non-lethal rifle (often using bean-bag rounds) or pepper spray. It doesn't need to "neutralize" the suspect, just confuse and/or disorientate the suspect long enough to allow staff to disarm the person. With that being said, self defense should be a standard requirement for all staff in every school.
Negation training should also be required. Schools should designate one or two staff members as negotiation specialists. This tactic was proved to be useful at Taft Union High School in California when two staff members talked down the shooter. In a report released by KERO, Bakersfield local news, only two were injured during the shooting because of the staff members who put their students' safety above their own lives.
To prevent future attacks we must first know how to handle them if and when they do occur. That combined with an early detection of mental concern we could greatly reduce the fear parents have and the threats on life.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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