School violence is on everyone’s minds as we are reeling from the latest school shooting that seems to happen weekly now. America with its personal freedoms and obnoxious commitment to the Second Amendment makes our country the preferred breeding ground for violence. There have been 39 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths. Other countries do not have these problems – they reserve semi-automatic weapons use for law enforcement. There is no reasonable answer to why a civilian would need to have a semi-automatic weapon. Yet, they do in great numbers. I believe the shooting will continue with this in mind: How does one go about preventing them? I believe there are a few crucial steps:
- No one should be allowed to buy a firearm at 18 years old. The minimum age to purchase any type of gun should be 24 years old. One can not drive a rental car until they are 24 years old. The median age of school shooters is 16. Guns need to be taken out of the hands of teenagers. This one intervention could save countless lives.
- Schools need to have full-service mental health teams. Made up of prevention counselors, school counselors, and psychologists.
- Schools need to have students identify a safe adult. If a student can not identify a safe adult counselors need to work with this student to find someone in the building that they can identify with.
- Colorado implemented Safe to Tell after the Columbine massacre. All states need to have an anonymous reporting hotline.
- All law enforcement personnel must be carefully screened by trained mental health professionals. Officers should not be allowed to remain on the streets if they would not enter a school where there was violence. These screenings need to be updated yearly.
- Schools need to partner with businesses to provide mentors to students. People that can help them with academics as well as life decisions. A wonderful example of this is Save Our Youth.
- Each high school needs a safety officer either an Assistant Principal or Counselor that students can contact if they have school safety concerns. This should be well publicized and shared frequently with parents and students.
- If you work at an elementary read either of my school violence prevention books to your students each time there is a lockdown drill. The Bad Guys is for children in Preschool to 3rd grade. Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe is for children in grades 3 to 6th.
- Remove the Gun Show Loophole in every state. The gun show loophole is that Private gun sales don’t require a background check, whereas purchases from a licensed dealer do.
These are some steps that can make our schools safer. This is a problem that can be solved. Won’t you join me today in working to make a difference so that our children can have safer schools?