Today in the U.S. we had the 74th school shooting since Newtown, CT in November 2012. It occurred in Portland, OR. The shooter died of apparent self-inflicted wounds, another student was killed and a teacher wounded. What can we as parents do to prevent such tragedies from happening over and over?
I think we have reached the point where two things must be done. First, metal detectors need to be put in all senior high schools throughout the country. There should be only one school door where it is possible to enter the building. All students, parents and other visitors must enter through this door and pass through the detector to enter the building. When students are entering the building in the morning before school, an armed police officer should be present in the event any weapons are found. All students must show a student ID to enter as well as parents and visitors having a photo ID to enter.
Second, it is apparent the there must be on site community mental health services in the middle and senior high schools. Troubled kids must be identified and interventions done. There needs to be parent conferences with parents of those students identified as at risk for any reason. A mental health evaluation and treatment must be made mandatory for any troubled student to continue to attend school. Often, it is the school who identifies troubled kids before the parents intervene. So schools need to help get kids into treatment. Then other times, the parents are crying for help and can't get it. If services are available at the school, the school can act as a support for parents and students.
I think it is fair to say we have reached crisis proportions with these school shootings. The time is past due for no action. Where necessary, legislation may have to be changed for the greater good and protection of society. I base my opinions on my 24 years experience as a school nurse in one of the largest urban school districts in the U.S. Twenty-three years were spent in high risk senior high schools where there were metal detectors. Students bringing weapons and drugs to school were suspended or expelled and arrested on the spot. This prevented in school shootings and stabbbings.
Haven't we as parents had enough terror and heartache with school violence and the loss of life? It effects all school age children and their parents with unbelievable fear and trauma. It must stop. I implore anyone reading this to demand change from their school boards and legislators. This is a call to action and change.