To ensure students are protected in classrooms, corridors and on their campus much more must be done to improve the safety and security of schools, colleges and universities. That’s the message in a newly published book – Keep Kids Safe: Don’t Let Our Schools Becoming Killing Zones – by Canadian author Cal Millar.
Since the massacre at Newtown and other shootings at schools across North America and around the world, very little has been done to guarantee young people are safe in educational institutions.
“There has been a lot of talk, but not much done to identify the root cause of this violence,” Millar said. “We have had rhetoric and quick fix solutions from politicians following the horrific December 14, 2012 slaying at Sandy HookElementary School, but there hasn’t been the in-depth analysis that’s needed to find solutions to prevent children from being killed.”
The 488-page book, available from Amazon.com, calls for “a broad and wide ranging national dialogue on school safety and security” to ensure all voices are heard and to properly evaluate any ideas and proposals which are brought forward to keep kids safe.
“It is essential for society to learn as much as we can from the various shooting that have taken place and glean all information possible to determine how the safety of schools can be enhanced without turning them into fortresses,” Millar said.
“No communities are immune from this type of violence,” the author said while pointing out they have occurred in towns where residents thought they were living in the safest place on earth. “School shootings have taken place in large cities and remote villages, but they are still a fairly rare phenomenon as far as crime goes. It’s just they are so senseless and victims die for no apparent reason.”
The book mentions there have been numerous studies into school shootings, including the carnage caused by the sniper atop the observation tower at University of Texas in Austin to the slaughter at Virginia Tech and the massacre at ColumbineHigh School.
“The findings from these incidents and research into other school shootings around the world can serve as a catalyst for a debate which could result in a world symposium on school safety,” Millar said. “This is something the United Nations might be interested in organizing; similar to the global sessions they’ve hosted to develop strategies to combat various forms of organized crime. Finding ways to make schools safer is something that should be done at the highest level and should be a top priority.”
The book points out that after 20 first graders and six educators were slain in Connecticut, President Barack Obama urgently called for recommendations to prevent these tragedies and suggested a review of school safety and security, mental health issues and firearm legislation. Unfortunately the discussion became narrowly focused on a need for strict gun controls and federal politicians failed to adopt any laws favored by the president, including background checks before anyone can purchase a firearm.
“When you look at some of the individuals who have carried out attacks at schools, I think it’s necessary to also consider harassment and bullying, as well as influences from music videos, graphic movies, the Internet and violent video games as potential triggers for this violence,” the author said.
Highlighted in the book is the first school shooting on September 5, 1595 at RoyalHigh School in Scotland and the earliest in the United States which occurred in Franklin County Pennsylvania on July 26, 1764 when a native raiding party slaughtered 10 students and their teacher in a one room schoolhouse. It also examines school shootings in Dunblane, Scotland where 16 first-grade students were slain along with their teacher; the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School; the hostage taking, sexual assault and killing at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado; the devastation at Virginia Tech where 32 student and faculty were murdered and a homicidal rampage at Red Lake Senior High School in a First Nations community in Minnesota which resulted in the deaths of five students, a teacher, security guard and two other individuals before the 17-year-old gunman took his own life.
Keep Kids Safe: Don’t Let Our Schools Become Killing Zones – memorializes many of those who have died in school shootings so they can be remembered as individuals and not just statistics, as well as making mention of some of the heroes who surrendered their lives in an effort to protect others. The book recognizes the role of first responders; the clergy who not only conducted funerals but did so much to help heal those who were affected by the various tragedies; members of independent and government agencies who provide services to ensure people are properly cared for following horrific incidents and the outpouring of support from world leaders and people everywhere.
Also demonstrated is the unique bond that survivors of school shootings share as the book traces the journey of a memorial plaque from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, New York, where two shooting incidents took the lives of students, to Columbine High School, then to Red Lake and finally to Newtown where former students from the Red Lake Nation, who survived gunfire at their school, gave comfort to those who left suffering at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The book gives factual accounts of various incidents and provides insight into what to expect if a school shooting occurs in your community as well as outlining the pain and trauma people will experience, the reaction of individuals and the assistance that’s required to help heal those who are devastated when the unthinkable happens. It is a must read for first responders, religious leaders, educators, parents and community leaders in addition to those who are working to improve safety in schools and protecting young people in their classrooms.