A Look At School Safety Since Sandy Hook
LOOKING BACK: The event occurred just 11 days before spending a day of joy and gift giving with your family, on December 14, 2012. A day to be remembered by American citizens; a day many lost children, wives, and family – the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Shooter, 20 year old Adam Lanza, grabbed three guns from his house, a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle made by Bushmaster and pistols made by Glock and Sig Sauer, and went to the elementary school wearing black fatigues and a military vest according to accounts from law enforcement officials – killing 28 people that day, including himself. His victims were 20 children ranging from ages 6-7 years old, and 6 teachers; all left without a future who had no chance to fight back. While we know the identity of the shooter, we are all left with an urge to place blame in other directions in an effort to prevent the next atrocity. One thing for sure, though, it deemed school defense systems, (i.e. locked doors and gates), ineffective.
SCHOOL VULNERABILITY FOR SHOOTINGS: In case of emergencies, lockdowns and fire drills are now commonly practiced in traditional brick and mortar schools. A lockdown is a precautionary measure in response to a threat directly to the school or in the surrounding community. This is when students stop all their activities, teacher’s wait for students in the hallways to get to the nearest classrooms, and then lock the door. They then gather in the back of the classroom to sit quietly and wait for the “clear” signal. With this, schools proudly say that they are prioritizing students’ safety, but is it really effective? Authorities now know the gunman used an “assault weapon” to “literally (shoot) an entrance into the building,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said after the Sandy Hook shooting. Even behind closed doors, anyone can be vulnerable and we can conclude based on shootings like Sandy Hook and countless others that public schools are not the best on safety. With powerful weapons available on the market today and a little bit of preparedness, (like a crowbar for example), a door can easily be knocked down and people inside can easily become targets – backed into a corner with no escape route.
SO, WHAT’S THE SOLUTION? The Sandy Hook shooting was not the only school shooting to happen in America during the last 10 years, but why we have not done anything about this major problem in all this time? Politicians have continuously offered “thoughts and prayers” after each one – shrugging any efforts for lawful change aside along the way. With the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, hundreds of thousands participated in the March for Our Lives protests around the world on March 24, 2018; all in a deafening call for more gun control. Many expressed a desire for strengthened background checks, new restrictions on who can obtain a gun, and an all-out ban on assault-style weapons, but this is not the only way to prevent a shooting like this.
More than just another law or ban on guns, this is a call for being prepared on the part of school systems and for more funding from the government. Efforts like employing guards and officers at schools, installing metal detectors and other safety equipment, or even teaching the educators self-defense can greatly reduce and even prevent needless deaths and casualties.
There is so much more that we should be doing for our children – the time for action is now! Get educated on all your school safety options so that everyone can enjoy their cup of hot cocoa, and giving presents and joy as a family on the next Christmas Eve; unlike those who lost their lives in Sandy Hook on December 14th, 2012.
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