There is a lot of evidence, hypotheses, and arguments regarding how to reduce school shootings. While some attention has been paid to limiting access to guns and better mental health checks regarding gun buyers, a lot can be done from a security standpoint. Reducing school shootings is also about mitigating the risk of a shooter progressing with a plan to cause maximum damage.
Here is what can be done to maximize security and reduce the likelihood of school shooting violence.
1. Limit Access to Guns
An endless number of studies show that more restrictive gun laws equate to lower rates of homicide by gun and that higher rates of gun ownership are linked with a higher rate of school shootings.
There are several manners in which better gun regulation could be used to reduce school shootings, including eliminating access for high-risk individuals, having lengthy waiting periods before access, and conducting more in-depth background checks.
2. Violence Risk Assessments
A violence risk assessment cannot prevent all school shootings. Still, it has the potential to identify a threat, assess threats, and ultimately enact protective measures to be taken before it becomes a school shooting.
This has been an effective strategy for reducing rates of student aggression and lowering out-of-school suspension rates while improving perceptions of safety in school. More violence risk assessments conducted by mental health professionals or teachers can better identify an issue before it becomes more.
3. AI School Security to Identify Threats
There are many ways to make school buildings safer and reduce school shootings by implementing security measures. AI may have a big role to play. AI security systems can identify threats before humans can.
With security personnel on-site or not, the gun detection technology can alert the necessary parties, including police, once a threat is identified and respond faster than if human beings were tasked with the same responsibility.
4. More Mental Health Support
Mental health support has been shown to reduce violence and aid individuals in processing difficult emotions. Mentions of suicide, shooting, or violence can be handled before it grows into pursuing violent action.
Mental health is not purely treating violence but is also about addressing the needs of students who may be underserved by what’s happening at home or school. With strong support, students who might be more at risk of pursuing violence can be provided with the help they need to process their emotions.
5. Improving Access Control Measures
Several school shooting incidents were initiated by individuals who gained access to a school through a malfunctioning entryway or a door that was improperly secure. Entry/exit points should be carefully assessed to institute physical barriers that could slow someone down.
This goes for not only doorways but also something like installing fencing or gates around the perimeter can slow a threat down. In addition, some schools use screening technology such as metal detectors or AI security detection which can identify concealed weapons without having to do a patdown or anything.
6. Installing Video Surveillance
A response that many schools have to a prior school shooting is more cameras and more security personnel on-site. While personnel are expensive, and having a security person in every possible area on school premises is impossible, cameras are an easy way to monitor a school.
While results are mixed on how effective cameras are at reducing school shootings, they are a security resource that can be used by local law enforcement with an ongoing threat. They do communicate a perception of safety. More video surveillance is combined with AI and similar security software to maximize security.
7. Installing Panic Buttons & Locks
More classrooms nationwide are installing access control across individual classrooms with heavy-duty locks. More classrooms are also equipped with silent alarms or panic buttons that a teacher or authority figure can use to send a direct notice to the police in an emergency.
These two security measures in schools are important to reducing the damage a school shooter can do and, if enacted fast enough and with luck on one’s side, may potentially avoid a shooting altogether. Electric locks can also be controlled from a primary desk, making a lockdown easier and faster to enact.
8. Follow the Research
So many school shootings have taken place that, at this point, there is a lot of research analyzing the responses of different administrations. We know that strategies like arming teachers, installing more security personnel on-site, and metal detectors are limited in effectiveness.
What many might expect would work sometimes does not. New research is always being conducted, and new security tech is being tried in environments similar to schools. For a safer school and to reduce school shootings, follow the research.