American teachers train to prepare for school shootings

By Lauren Storch
On February 5, 2018

Throughout the first month of 2018, there have been over 11 school shootings and related incidents that have been accounted for. These include accidental firing, self-inflicted injury and harmful intent.

CNN reported that sixteen people were wounded, two of them fatally, after a shooter opened fire at a high school in Kentucky on Jan. 23, 2018. Only a few days later, a 12-year-old girl was charged with bringing a firearm to her California middle school, where four students were injured.

In recent years the number of school shootings, especially among minors, has drastically increased. One-way schools have responded to this development is by implementing lock down drills inside classrooms, though recently, there are some schools that wish to take their drills a step forward.

According to The New York Times, teachers across the country will soon be able to train for an active shooter on school grounds using a computer simulation that includes realistic details like gunfire, shattered glass and the screams of children.

Simulations such as these may assist educators in how to approach an active shooter situation but will do nothing to actually deter students from bringing guns into the classroom. The New York Times notes that with new technology school districts may choose to supplement these drills by using the simulation to train staff members to make decisions under pressure.

Possible solutions to the problem of gun control in the United States is something that has been under debate for years now. Yet while many argue over their Second Amendment Rights, hundreds of children each year are falling victim to firearm violence.

The elimination of firearms will not eradicate gun related incidents simply based off the fact that individuals will no longer be able to legally purchase firearms in America. But doing nothing to combat the systemic problem of overwhelming gun violence is irresponsible and delusional.

Former senior F.B.I. official Katherine W. Schweit said to The New York Times, “we have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings, and I think that will continue.” The reality is that children and young adults have become accustomed to these types of incidents. The majority of students born after 2000 have grown up practicing monthly lockdown drills in the wake of the Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings.

Despite growing up in an increasingly “gun conscious” society, there has been little education in schools done to teach students of the causes and effects of gun violence. Lessons such as warning signs of a potential shooter as well as available psychological counseling should be provided in schools.

Educating students and teachers of how to spot an at risk individual would be an added behavioral block that could prevent someone from harming themselves or others. Informing parents of how to speak to their children about guns as well prepares them for the realities they will face in the world.

Opinions are plaguing this crisis of school shootings because they are allowing leaders and citizens to hide behind spoke lines and personal belief statements. Instead, lawmakers and school boards should be exchanging dialogue about what practical measures must be taken in order to lessen the extent of these tragedies.

 

lstorch@ramapo.edu

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