Despite increased efforts to secure schools in the country, the number of school shootings have virtually remained unchanged.
An analysis conducted by the Associated Press found that at least 11 school shootings have occurred this academic school year alone. Those numbers are separate from other cases of gun violence.
“Lockdown” is now part of the school vocabulary. In Pennsylvania and New Mexico, Colorado and Tennessee, and elsewhere, gunfire has echoed through school hallways, and killed students or their teachers in some cases. Last August, a gun discharged in a 5-year-old’s backpack while students were waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria at Westside Elementary School in Memphis. No one was hurt.
Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, said there have been about 500 school-associated violent deaths in the past 20 years. The numbers don’t include a string of recent shootings at colleges and universities. Just last week, a man was shot and critically wounded at the Palm Bay Campus of Eastern Florida State College, according to police.
Schools are generally safer than they were five, 10 or 15 years ago. The recent budget deal in Congress provides $140 million to support safe school environments, a $29 million increase.
About 90 percent of districts in the country have tightened security in their schools since the Newtown shootings. Schools now have elaborate safety plans and more metal detectors, as well as surveillance cameras and fences.
What tactics should schools implement to prevent school shootings?
Can school violence truly be stopped or just contained?
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