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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Understanding and Preventing School Shootings

     Following the Columbine mass murder in 1999 that involved two Colorado high school shooters who killed 13 and injured 20 before committing suicide, the United States Secret Service published its first study of school shooting incidents. According to the report, 71 percent of school shooters had been bullied, and many of them for years. After the Columbine shooting spree, public schools across the nation instituted anti-bullying courses. These programs have not, however, solved the problem. School kids are bullied now more than ever.

     Research has shown that 90 percent of school shooters foreshadowed their intentions with rants and threats published on social media. These indicators of future violence were either ignored or downplayed.

     School shooting studies also reveal there is no proof that active shooter drills are useful. In fact, they may do more harm than good, causing unnecessary student anxiety.

    The most recent Secret Service school shooting study shows that 83 percent of the attacks are over in five minutes or less. According to Lina Alathari, the study's lead researcher, schools need a more comprehensive approach than active shooter drills, metal detectors, lockdown procedures, armed school guards, and teachers with guns. What is lacking is threat assessment procedures, the identification of bullied students who are fascinated with guns, bombs and accounts of previous mass murders. These potential shooters also fantasize about getting revenge by killing their teachers and fellow students.

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