Unfortunately, in today’s present climate, mass shootings and gun violence are of paramount concern not only in schools but in government buildings, medical facilities, and just about anywhere crowds gather or work. It doesn’t help that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and political and social unrest, that experts estimate a nearly 90% increase in gun sales nationally from March to October 2020 compared to 2019. Such a drastic rise in firearm sales means there are more guns in American citizens than in more recent years. It’s entirely possible that the national increase in background checks for gun purchases can be attributed to anxiety about an unprecedented convergence of a pandemic, a summer of national unrest, and a presidential election.
With January’s incident at the nation’s capital and growing concerns surrounding K-12 student mental health, it’s becoming more evident that shootings and gun violence should be a prioritized concern as unrest continues to evolve in our nation. The purpose of this article is to examine the solutions schools can implement to prevent mass shootings and gun violence events on K-12 and college campuses.
While it is impossible to perform background checks on all visitors, it is critical to conduct background checks on employees as part of the hiring process. This can help rule out candidates with questionable backgrounds.
Provide Emergency and Situational Awareness Training
The first step in surviving a mass shooting is situational awareness. Did you know that most gunshots are often mistaken for fireworks or other kinds of loud noises? Immediately accepting and understanding the sounds as gunshots is paramount. Just a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death during an active shooter situation. Take the time to train key personnel to gain situational awareness and respond in an emergency and implement campus-wide emergency response drills.
Another factor to consider is that studies show that most shooters indicate their plans before an event. Educate employees on how to look for signs of distress and provide a way to make others aware of that distress. The more often these skills and drills are performed, the more likely you can execute a safe response in an emergency.
Offer and Encourage Counseling
By providing counseling, you can defuse issues before they can escalate and gain situational awareness.
Equip Your Campus with Physical Security Solutions
When considering physical security technologies for your educational community, consider the five elements of security; Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay, and Defend. Applying physical security technologies can protect school grounds starting at the perimeter. Consider technologies including:
- Access Control to prevent infiltration or isolate a threat
- CCTV/Video Surveillance to deter violence and monitor activities
- Intrusion Detection to prevent or detect infiltration attempts
- Communication Systems to help control access and communicate instructions in an emergency