FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Getting Real About School Safety

Can we get real about school safety?

Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, there have been at least 239 school shootings in the United States. 438 people were shot and injured in these shootings, and 138 people were killed.

On Valentine’s Day of this year, 14 high school students and three faculty members at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida were gunned down in the hallways and classrooms.

The survivors are demanding that lawmakers take action to get guns out of schools so this carnage might stop.

The National Rifle Association, the Trump administration, and many conservative lawmakers are answering these demands for fewer guns by calling for… even more guns in schools. Specifically, they want more armed guards, and even armed teachers.

Is that really the answer?

Let’s see what the facts tell us: Americans already own about half of all guns in the world, and suffer by far the most gun homicides among developed countries. Breaking it down further, states with more guns have more gun deaths.

All told, we’re home to 5 percent of the world’s population but 31 percent of the world’s mass shooters.

Clearly, guns aren’t the answer. But even beyond the weapons, putting more cops in schools has its own risks.

Our public schools already have legions of armed law enforcement officers, euphemistically called School Resource Officers (SROs), roaming the hallways. As of 2014, at least 30 percent of our public schools had at least one SRO.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had one. And it had two other trained, armed law enforcement officers on the grounds as the massacre was occurring. They neither deterred nor stopped the shooter.

Nationally, we average about five school shootings per month. So while our schools are already teeming with SROs, there’s no evidence that this has kept our students safer.

There’s plenty of evidence, however, that the presence of SROs hurts our students — especially back, Latino, indigenous, LGBTQ, disabled, and low-income students.

The presence of cops in schools has markedly increased the number of these kids who end up in the juvenile justice system — including for minor offenses like graffiti and subjective, childish behavior like “disorderly conduct” and “disobedience.”

As of 2014, 43 states and the District of Columbia arrested black students at school at disproportionately high rates. And black students were far more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to attend schools that employ SROs.

This is no small matter. These types of arrests, detentions, and referrals increase the likelihood that children will have further encounters with the criminal legal system, drop out of school, and suffer unemployment later on.

In other words, the presence of armed officers in schools doesn’t protect our kids. It puts them at risk.

A better way forward for school safety is to invest in training teachers in social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD) to spot and address trauma and stress — to see and teach the whole child. And to invest in restorative justice practices that nurture kids while holding them accountable, to help kids move on from small infractions before things escalate.

Our gun-soaked society is a critical piece of the problem, and strong gun control laws can begin to address that. But another critical piece of the problem is a punitive society that targets vulnerable children for non-violent offenses.

Instead of arming schools — which benefits only the NRA and lawmakers who’ve been bought by them — what our education system needs is resources to support the healthy development of all students.

Then we’re getting real about school safety.

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail