In the past few years, the society has been alarmed by the school shooting incidents that have killed a lot of student’s lives. The reason for the shooting was uncertain but common assumptions have been attributed to psychological problem of the shooter. The aftermath of the incidents also resulted to policies and programs by both school administration and government. In this paper, several school shooting, the factors that made the shooter commit such act and the possible solutions will be presented.
Random School Shooting
In the past few years, the society was stunned by the news reports about cases of shootings and murders in schools. The most dreadful, however, is the fact that those directly involved are school children with age ranging from 10-16. Notably, in almost all facilities in the society, aside from house, it is the school, that is considered the safest place. It is safe simply because the people occupying it are harmless. There are also no factors that could make the life of students and teacher at risk because the facility is for learning purposes only. This is also justified by the general perception that school is the second home.
Additionally, the school is also considered the second foundation where values and knowledge of every individual are developed. It is noteworthy that every citizen undergoes education as part of existence. And that education is only availed in school where teachers and other learning essentialities are available. It is also the place where a child starts to build their confidence and meet their friends as they are usually exposed to a wider environment and socialize with their fellow students. Aside from that, it is in school that every citizen is being trained to be good and indispensable individuals in the society someday. But then, in the past decade several killings through random shooting started to change the nature of school. Innocent and young lives have been sacrificed by the rampaging and unusual acts of several students who perpetrated the shooting. Notably, reasons were formulated to seek the causes of the shootings. Security and order in the school was threatened by another possibility of another shooting incident while parents are raising doubts as to the capability of schools in deterring such from happening. The legislature, on the other hand, are pushing and formulating for several policies and programs in order to resolve the problem. However, the threat has not yet been eradicated because the controlling policies adopted are not that effective. Hence, this paper will examine the school shootings and further presents the government actions with suggestion with regard to the problem.
Deadly School Shootings
In the history of school shooting, it has been recorded that since 1927 school children and teachers has been killed in school. Through time, same incident continued to happen in different schools and by different perpetrators. Several are really alarming and deadly based on the number of fatalities. One of the recorded deadly schools shooting is the Columbine High School Massacre in Colorado on April 20, 1999 where 13 people died and24 were recorded injured (Rosenberg).
It was quite amusing that the perpetrators in the Columbine Massacre were both senior students, living in a complete family and are intelligent. In addition, they lived as a typical student and teenager. However, it was discovered that both have planned the bombing of the school’s cafeteria and the shooting because investigation revealed that both amassed weapons and studied ways of preparing bomb. Despite being ordinary and typical students, the perpetrators were eventually found to have journals and websites containing their hatred about several things. In looking into the motives or factor that have made the high school seniors commit the crime, studies only ended in assumptions.
Another horrible incident in schools that caused five lives is the shooting in West Nickel Mines Amish School in Lancaster County in 2006 (Freydis). Notably, the Amish school shooting was perpetrated by a milk truck driver (Freydis). According to the findings, the perpetrator committed the crime because an unpleasant event twenty years ago kept on reverberating in his dream. Suicide notes were also discovered which made the police investigators conclude that the crime was planned.
In the following year, 2007, the society has again been troubled by the shooting incident in Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia (Freydis). At early morning, a Chinese English major student fired his gun and killing 33 students including professors. Like any other perpetrators in the above stated, the perpetrator in the Virginia Tech committed suicide. Eventually, weapons and depressants were found in the bag of the perpetrator. It was also found out that that the Chinese student was usually laughed at by his classmates because of the way he talks and of his shyness.
Factors that Influenced School Shooting Incidents
The aftermath of the shooting incidents is alarming that should not be ignored by the government, schools, and the society as a whole. The issue on school shootings is morally disturbing that should be given immediate solution. However, it is quite impractical to find for an effective solution when the causes that led to shooting incidents are uncertain to identify.
According to studies, several factors are considered as the root cause of these incidents. The highly regarded factor that led the perpetrators of the shooting was psychological imbalance. From the presented three deadly shooting incidents, it was discovered that the perpetrators experienced an emotional and psychological problem. In addition, people who knew the perpetrators testified that there was nothing unusual about them and it was surprising that they committed the crime. In addition, studies showed that in most of the shooting incidents, the perpetrators were suffering from depression as they were taking retalin and other anti-depressants. As a result, the children found violence as an alternative of solving their emotional and psychological problem.
Another factor that is believed to have influenced shooting incident is school violence which may take in the form of bullying, threats, sexual harassment, gang violence, extortion, and intimidation (Bucher and Manning). In some case of shooting incidents like in Virginia Tech, the shooters are commonly concluded to have taken revenge against their fellow students who had bullied or intimidated them. Revenge against injustices in schools has been considered as the common motivation of the shooters. This is prevalent in the cases of Virginia Tech and Columbine incidents. In order to address the perceived social inequality and the discrimination factors in the society and in the schools, the shooters have found killing as the means of raising their insights. It is noteworthy that in most cases of shooting incidents, the shooter committed suicide and left traces that would justify their actions. Other factors seen to have influenced these unwanted incidents are personal problems, family problems, disappointments, low grades, and others.
Random as Preventable Incidents
Contrary to what others assert, the shooting incidents could have been prevented. Notably there have been almost twenty four shooting incidents recorded in history since 1927. These continuous events and the clear propensity that such may happen again could have alerted school administrators to act. Although security facilities, like security cameras have been heightened in schools, it did not serve as a deterrent but only helped after the incident. Hence, the incidents could have been effectively prevented if students were subjected to metal detectors or x-ray machines before entering the school. Furthermore,
Aside from that, having knowledge of the violence in the schools, the administrators or teachers could have adopted programs that would decrease classroom violence. By responsibility, teachers are not only mentors but are also parents who are obliged to discipline and inculcate values among their students. Through mentoring and conflict-resolution strategies, the students could have been informed of the consequences of their actions and at the same time, the teachers could have evaluated the behavior of their students (Batarelo).
Undeniably, the responsibility of developing the children to be a better person is a joint responsibility of parent and teachers. Through cooperation and open conversation of the parents and teachers, they could have easily assessed their students and found ways of resolving anything that is troubling the child. In addition, activities and vocational programs focusing on the student’s skills and strengths should have been adopted (Irving). Anger management can also be helpful in lowering the student’s tendency of resorting to violence (Irving). There are various manners by which these incidents could have been prevented so long as the school administrator is determined in preventing it.
Meanwhile, after various school shootings, some states have adopted means of preventing same incident from being repeated. In Valley High School, every student is subjected to metal detectors before entering the school premises (McClatchy). Through the metal detectors, any weapon that student’s may be planning to escape inside the school could be detected at an earliest stage. Anti-bullying legislations are also being considered as a means of minimizing cases of school violence. Another consideration is expulsion or suspension of students who may inflict violence against his fellow students. At present, continuous efforts are being made in order to resolve the problem and totally make school as a safe and peaceful place for students again.
Basically, the foundation of knowledge is the school. Being a place of learning and training, it is expected that no sign of violence is prevalent. In addition, for conducive learning environment, school is assured as to security. But then, the traditional perception of school has been destroyed by the random school shooting incidents. Through these incidents, the community as whole has been alarmed by the societal problem that influenced students from committing violence. It is also unfortunate that the parents, fellow students and the society as a whole have contributed to the perpetration of these unwanted incidents. But then, time to act is not yet late. The lost lives should serve as an inspiration to teachers, parents, and the government as well in uniting in coming up with ways to keep children away from violent activities. Definitely, shooting incidents are preventable. Effective ways merely needs to be adopted and carried out. Through participation of all sectors in the society, schools can definitely be a better place to live in.
Batarelo, I. (08 January 2000). Violence Prevention and Reduction in Schools. Behavioral Disorders, 25, 372.
Bucher, K. T., and Manning, M. L. (01 January 2003). Challenges and suggestions for schools. Vol. 76 p. 160.
Freydis (April 2008). Holology. School shootings. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://www.holology.com/shooting.html
Irving, J. Family Education. (2009). Avoiding School Shooting. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from http://life.familyeducation.com/school-safety-month/violence/36339.html.
Rosenberg, G. About.com. (2009). Columbine Massacre. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://history1900s.about.com/od/famouscrimesscandals/a/columbine_4.htm
Yerace,T. (03 September 2008). Pittsburg Tribune Review. School starts with metal detectors at Valley. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from, http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_586147.html