Personal Safety

How To Prevent School Shootings: Statistics, Violence Reduction, Laws, Initiatives, & Local Involvement

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Police entering classroom with guns (Caption: How To Prevent School Shootings)Sending your child to school is a huge milestone. It’s a very exciting time, but it can also cause parents some anxiety. There’s no way to avoid hearing about the increased amount of gun violence in schools. It’s happening with more frequency, and the media is quick to cover these occurrences.

Parents and students alike are looking for ways that they can be a part of the solution to end gun violence in schools. There is a lot of great information available about how to make schools safer from shootings, but you might not know where to find it. Learn ways for your family to become a part of the solution to end gun violence in schools.

Article Overview

School Shooting Statistics

According to an Everytown analysis, there have been at least 549 incidents of gunfire on school grounds from 2013 to 2019.15 Of these, 347 occurred on the grounds of elementary, middle, or high schools, resulting in 129 deaths and 270 people wounded.

These statistics are frightening and emphasize the need to prevent school shootings and make school safety a priority.

How To Reduce Gun Violence In Schools

In 2019, Everytown for Gun Safety, The National Education Association (NEA) and The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) collaborated to produce Keeping Our Schools Safe: A Plan to Stop Mass Shooting and End Gun Violence in American Schools.

This document outlines the need for state and federal policies that will work to reduce gun violence. It also discusses threat identification, security upgrades, emergency planning and the need for creating safe school environments to prevent school shootings. These organizations are also very clear about the need to prevent schools from arming teachers — and why this actually poses more of a risk.

Gun-Related Law Revisions

From a legislative standpoint, they recommend:

  1. Supporting red flag laws.
  2. Requiring responsible firearm storage laws.
  3. Requiring background checks on all gun sales.
  4. Raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic weapons.

All of these laws are gun violence prevention policies that could prevent a prospective shooter from gaining access to a gun.

School-Based Prevention Efforts

School-based intervention is another way to prevent school shootings outlined in the document. They suggest:

  1. Evaluating systems of threat identification.
  2. Assessing what security upgrades may be needed.
  3. Implementing emergency planning.
  4. Fostering healthy schools and communities by making them safe and equitable.

When school-based intervention works hand-in-hand with legislative initiatives, school shooting prevention can be the most successful.

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, two important organizations formed to prevent school shootings.

Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America

Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America logoOne of these organizations is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, formed by Shannon Watts, a mom who could no longer sit back and watch children in this country be affected by gun violence. What started as a Facebook page has become an organization with nearly 6 million members and chapters in every state.

They are playing an essential role in preventing school shootings by working to pass stronger gun laws and to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of all Americans. They also provide community programs that encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership like the Be SMART Program.

There is also a branch of this group, Students Demand Action, created by and for teens and young adults, that helps them channel their passion for fighting against gun violence.

Sandy Hook Promise

Sandy Hook Promise logoThe other organization is Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit founded and led by family members who lost loved ones during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. They work to honor the lives lost in that horrible event by providing programs and practices that protect children and prevent tragedy.

In addition to advocating for sensible gun legislation, they are well-known for providing free child-focused programs that promote inclusion. There are also programs to teach children to look for signs and signals of potential violent acts among their peers so they can say something before an act of violence takes place.

Sandy Hook Promise has also created the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System that’s is available to school systems nationwide. It allows students, staff and parents to submit safety concerns in order to identify and intervene with at-risk individuals before they hurt themselves or someone else. It has rolled out statewide in Pennsylvania and was recently adopted in North Carolina as well.

Get Involved Locally

There is so much we can do to make schools safer. We all need to work together to achieve that goal. If you want to be a part of the solution, there are so many ways to help. Here’s three to get you started:

  1. Pay attention to legislation and get involved by emailing and calling your lawmakers to encourage them to make gun sense decisions.
  2. Keep a watchful eye on your school district, learn which safety procedures they have in place, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you see something that is not working correctly.
  3. Take the time to look at the organizations that are fighting this battle every day and figure out how you can help make school safety a priority in your community.

We can all play a role in preventing school shootings and being responsible about guns in our communities. Read more in our guide to gun safety.

Julie Fritz

Julie has been writing professionally since 2012. She is an active volunteer for a local arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Everytown does comprehensive research on gun violence and makes recommendations on how we can all make our communities safer. Her involvement with this organization has given her invaluable information about how to keep our kids safe. She enjoys writing not only about gun safety, but from family-related content to informative articles about technology, events and healthcare. In her free time, you might find her hiking, trail running, biking or swimming. You might also find her in the kitchen where she loves to cook and bake.

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