Already safe at school
School shootings aren’t an epidemic, writes Martin Kaste on NPR.
“Schools are safer today than they had been in previous decades,” says James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University. Multiple-victim shootings were more common in the ’90s, his analysis concludes. The number of victims is down too. “In the 1992-93 school year, about 0.55 students per million were shot and killed; in 2014-15, that rate was closer to 0.15 per million.”
“Today we have cell phone recordings of gunfire that play over and over and over again,” says Fox. “That’s why people think things are a lot worse now, but the statistics say otherwise.”
“Schools are just about the safest place in the world for kids to be,” says Garen Wintemute, an ER doctor who researches gun violence at the University of California, Davis. Teens are far more at risk from off-campus violence, he believes.
He endorses broader gun safety measures, such as “red flag” laws, which give authorities the ability to remove firearms temporarily from people deemed to be threatening violence to themselves or others.
Media coverage hypes the risks, writes Alexander Russo.
Fear of school shootings may lead to unwise policies that raise the risks of harm. Few school districts will ask teachers to carry concealed weapons at school, but we’ll probably see many more armed guards and metal detectors, as well as more kids kicked out for expressing anger, drawing pictures of weapons, etc.
There has been an epidemic of threats — nearly all fake — since the Parkland massacre. The Educator’s School Safety Network estimates an average of 70 per day. (The pre-Parkland average was 10 per day.) Want to get out class? Annoy your elders? Feel important? Just scribble a threat on the bathroom wall or online.