Another day, another tragedy. As a parent, I often tend to look the other way because the reality of these tragic situations are too hard to face. It is too gut-wrenching to put myself in the shoes of parents who have lost their children… too painful to imagine it happening to my own children. So we ignore it & pretend like these types of tragedies won’t hit closer to home. We move on with our day & begin Googling other things instead: “my toddler won’t eat vegetables,” “what apps are good for kindergarteners?” “summer backyard activities for kids” etc…
The problem with this is that we are turning a blind eye to issues that we should be educated about in an effort to make changes. We, as parents, do have an obligation to protect our children whether that means caring for them on a daily basis or becoming educated about issues in an attempt to bring about legislative changes.
In this post I have gathered a variety of information on the topic of school shootings in an effort to both educate myself & all of you. The reality of the situation is a difficult one to face, & it is hard to know where to go from here. It is a complex issue, but we have to start somewhere, right?
How Often Do School Shootings Occur?
The USC School of Social Work’s online MSW program has put together an infographic entitled America’s Tragic Trend: School Shootings Since Sandy Hook. You can view all of the statistics below, but the two things that really stood out to me are the following:
- In the last three years in the United States, a fatal school shooting has occurred an average of every 22 days.
- There have been 182 school shootings since Sandy Hook in a variety of educational establishments – from preschools to colleges.
Why Do School Shootings Occur?
There are many controversial topics that go into these types of issues – gun control, mental health support, parenting, culture, & any number of other things. As you saw in the infographic, this is becoming a scarily common occurrence, & my hope is that experts are dedicating their time & resources to solving this alarming problem & uncovering its complexities.
There was research done prior to Sandy Hook that suggested that the percentage of high school students who reported carrying a weapon on school property at least one day during the previous 30 days went down from 12 percent to 5 percent between 1993 and 2013. However, research of this kind halted after Sandy Hook, and there is no data to prove whether or not the downward trend continued or if it went up. Either way, any number of school shootings is too many, & guns on campuses can accidentally or intentionally harm innocent students, teachers, & administrators.
Unfortunately, many of the reasons for school shootings are interwoven & each tragedy carries its own complex background story & explanation.
What Can We Do to Prevent School Shootings?
It is important to educate ourselves further on this topic & the issues surrounding it. But without having all of the answers or changing intimidating legislation, there is one simple thing that we can all do to safeguard our own families & communities against these types of tragedies.
Be aware of the people around you & listen to your instincts.
We need to have these types of conversations with our children & have an open line of communication so that if they are seeing anything concerning, they will come to you as their parent. Many school shooters have talked about their plans, many peers report those red flags, & many times these situations are not taken seriously. NYMag.com has provided more information & practical strategies in this article here such as stationing retired police officers in school buildings because they are well-trained in recognizing potential threats.