Today, we are witness to yet another mass shooting in a school. As I am typing this, there are parents waiting to learn if their child is ok or not. My thoughts are with them and all of those who have had to witness this.
I have been asked, “As a school board member, what would you do to prevent school shootings?”
A couple of thoughts, according to Jake Tapper on CNN, “since Columbine, 150,000 school children have been witness to a school shooting.” Additionally, this is the 18th school shooting since January 1, 2018. This should not be normal. This should make our blood boil. Children should not be afraid to go to school. Teachers should not constantly have to think about the best way to barricade their classroom to keep their students safe.
Over the coming hours and days we will hear many ways that we can make our schools safer. There will be arguments ranging from metal detectors and body searches as well as the argument for armed teachers. I believe that metal detectors are a good idea, but do not think that they will be 100% effective.
We need to work towards making our legislature see the need for common sense gun laws. When the second amendment was written it took someone around 20 seconds to reload their gun, not 20 shots per second. Furthermore, it was so that we could “form a well-regulated militia”. If you want to own a gun, you can, but take a gun safety course and please register it. Lock the weapon up and lock the ammunition up separately.
One idea that I have is based on an experience I had in the early 2000’s. On a Sunday afternoon, around 100 students from my high school in Lancaster, PA, gathered to be let into the building. We sat in the cafeteria surrounded by armed police officers, who explained that that afternoon we would be involved in a drill that involved one or more shooters, they were not armed with actual weapons, they were going to be shooting blanks. When our briefing was finished, we were split into groups and moved to different areas of the high school. I was in a group that stayed in the cafeteria. Then the drill started. My group found cover in the dish room. We waited to be rescued and while that happened we had a student simulate going into a low blood sugar issue. When we were rescued, we had to carry this student to a waiting ambulance. As a student, I am not sure what the take away was for local law enforcement, fire, EMS or the school officials, but I do know that it was an active learning situation for all involved. I have heard from others that the drill performed that day, was beneficial for the first responders who also worked the scene of the Amish School shooting in Lancaster a few years later.
All of this to say, I believe that as a school district, we need to have concurrency with Pasco County Sheriffs Office, and Pasco Fire Department when planning mass shooter response. We need to continue to train our teachers in First Aid, and other procedures to contain students in the classrooms and which will prevent any further harm to students.