I was overwhelmed with tears today when I read that April is the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. The area now has “one of the most sophisticated systems in the country: installing locks that can be remotely controlled and cameras that track suspicious people; setting up a 24-hour dispatch center and a team of armed patrol officers; monitoring troubled students and their social media; getting training from world-renowned psychologists and former SWAT commanders; researching and investing, practicing and re-practicing, all to ensure that when the next significant threat comes, it is stopped before the worst happens again.”
The big take-aways from the article about Columbine 20 years later:
- Schools need to identify potential security risks as quickly as possible so they can investigate
- Schools need to take every threat to safety seriously until trained personnel investigate
- Shooters always reach out somewhere with their intent and we as a society need to pay attention and have an action plan for how to stop them
Unfortunately, Columbine was not the end of the school shootings.
According to this article (updated for 2019 data) over 226,000 students at 233 schools have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine. The federal government doesn’t track school shooting numbers (What!?! Why not?) so the Washington Post has scoured reputable sources to find that at least 143 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 294 have been injured at school since Columbine.
Our society is grappling with a mass shooting crisis that is not going away anytime soon.
? Schools are spending millions of dollars on high-tech security and response teams
? Some schools are experimenting with gun stashes of their own and trained shooters (aka principals)
? Schools are practicing “active shooter drills” regularly
Educators want to educate. Our kids deserve physical and mental safety. What are we doing to ensure this happens?
How can we end this tragedy? Miliarize our schools? Add anti-bullying programs? Stronger gun legislation? Identifying, connecting with and wrapping our arms around would-be shooters so they’re less angry?
I don’t have all the answers but I know that part of the answer is reaching out to kids that are struggling, kids that feel lost and alone BEFORE the day they decide to bring a weapon to school.
Have you asked your school what they’re doing to keep children safe? Do they have a plan that includes online monitoring for safety, so they can identify which children need support?
If not, it’s TIME to partner with your school to create a safety plan (both physical safety and online safety).
I can help!
Email me with the name, telephone number and email of your school’s principal and I’ll get the conversation started in your school district.