Looking at the various inquiries, government reviews and judicial hearings into mass killings and targeted violence in educational facilities, it is interesting to note that evidence was collected from law enforcement and first responder personnel, educational officials, school and safety experts as well as representatives from government at all levels. Left out of the equation in the search for methods to prevent such incidents are students, parents and average citizens who may have valuable insight and could provide the necessary “out of the box” thinking to bring creative ideas and practical suggestions to make school communities safer.
So far all recommendations and procedures put in place as a result of exhaustive study have not made schools safer than they were before the attacks in Columbine, Jonesboro or Paducah. Security surveillance equipment has been installed in numerous schools, entrance doors are locked when students are safely in their classrooms, metal detectors greet young people at many urban educational facilities and it’s not uncommon to have police patrolling the corridors while kids are in class. Obviously these measures may deter some attackers but they haven’t curtailed what seems to be a growing number of mass murder attacks on schools in the United States and elsewhere. Media reports have claimed that notes written by the gunman who slaughtered the grade-one students at Sandy Hook suggest he chose the location because it was “a soft target” with not a lot of security and a place where he could murder more victims than the 85 individuals killed in July 2011 when Anders Breivik went on a maniacal bombing and shooting spree in Norway.