Arming officials inside schools, as suggested by President Trump, does little to combat shooting incidents, researchers say.
President Trump has called for “hardened schools” to end the cycle of school massacres. He was unimpressed when told about a Shelbyville, In., high school dubbed “the safest school in America.” The school has state-of-the-art cameras that send real-time footage to a sheriff’s office, smoke cannons in hallways, bulletproof doors and teachers who wear panic buttons. Trump asked, “Do you have anybody inside with a gun that can take on the man that’s right outside the door — that by the way, can shoot right through the steel doors?” Trump has defined school hardening as arming officials inside schools, which has not stopped the carnage except in a handful of isolated successes, Politico reports.
Research suggests that simply fortifying schools does little to reduce the likelihood of school shootings and is not nearly so effective as identifying threats and intervening early to address them. “School shootings are prevented because shooters make threats — people pay attention to those threats and intervene, and those shootings are prevented,” said Dewey Cornell of the University of Virginia, who focuses on school violence prevention. “We need to focus a lot more on prevention.” That view is shared by Guy Grace, security director for Littleton, Co., public schools, where the 1999 Columbine shooting killed 13 people and a second shooting in 2013 left two students dead. Grace cited similarities between the shooter who killed 17 people in Parkland, Fl., and the Littleton senior who stormed Arapahoe High School five years ago with a shotgun, 125 rounds of ammunition, a machete and three Molotov cocktails, killing another student and himself. “The guy that shot [up] our school — same thing,” he said. “There were warning signs before he did it and no follow up.”