Getting rid of gun violence

School safety priorities are in need of an update


Infographic by Carley Bailey

Only after the Columbine high school shooting of April, 1999, did schools begin implementing active shooter drills.

Carley Bailey, Staff Reporter

From the very moment you enter kindergarten to the time you graduate high school, school safety drills are engraved into your young brain. More precisely, “the lock down drill” or “active shooter drill” is taught amongst students for a number of reasons in response to detrimental threats among schools. Through this, they strive to enforce a safe and secure learning environment for students and faculty members. Still, these procedures aren’t always as effective as they should be.

Schools have specific safety policies and security tactics in place to keep unwanted people and behaviors away, however, shootings continue to persist and casualties continue to rise. From 2009 to 2018, there were 180 school shootings; 356 students, teachers, and administrators fell victim to gun violence. And as of 2022, there have been 35 shootings just within the year. With a rapid increase in shootings over the last few decades, more must be done to eliminate these threats and keep schools safe. 

When it comes to school shootings, it’s easy to feel powerless.  Thinking that there’s nothing that can be done is common, however, the reality of it is that there are multiple solutions to the ever-lasting issues shootings bring upon the community. 

Both advocating and encouraging counseling onto students can greatly reduce the risk of gun violence among students. In regards to bullying, 87% of school shooting perpetrators left behind evidence that they were victims of severe bullying. Most of these students don’t know that school counseling is an option. If counseling were discussed more and pushed onto students, school shootings would be much more uncommon and students struggling mentally would receive the help that they need. 

Normalizing mental health issues can also be an extremely helpful factor in reducing school shootings numbers. Simple acknowledgment that students aren’t alone influences them to reach out about their own situations and converse with others that may be struggling with the same things. With this, knowing that their personal issues are heard can allow these students to cope in safe ways, rather than harming others. 

In most cases, student school shooters end up showing warning signs before the act is committed. This meaning that there are many opportunities to prevent a school shooting before it happens. In a study conducted by Alfred University, two questions asked students what they would do if they heard another student talking about shooting someone at school. As a result, only about half of them said they would tell an adult about the situation. Whether it’s a place to leave anonymous notes or using an app, creating a way for students, faculty, and other staff members to report threats within their schools not only prevents gun violence, but also helps everyone feel safer in their school environment.  

Reporting threats is one thing, but preventing access to guns is another. Most commonly, school shooters find their hands on firearms through parents, adult siblings, or other relatives. In fact, it’s reported that more than 70 percent of school shooters got their firearms from relatives. With this, it’s important to store guns safely and keep them out of reach to children and adolescents. Although it’s reasonable to keep firearms accessible in case of home emergencies, keeping them locked away prevents youth from using them to harm others. 

With school shooting rates persistently increasing, it is essential for schools to demonstrate more efficient safety precautions. By offering numerous ways for students who are struggling to get the help, and providing a safe way for students and faculty to report threats, the entirety of school safety would be improved and threats like these could be prevented. It’s honestly devastating that schools have to deal with gun violence in the first place, but the best that we can do is get involved and give a serious effort to eliminate school shootings.