How American Schools Are Dealing With Violent Threats - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

In the wake of the February 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, schools are struggling to come up with the right answers – solutions that protect students and minimize the risks associated with guns and schools.

Knowing how to respond can be a tremendous challenge for schools. According to Dewey Cornell, a University of Virginia expert on school violence, “Schools must avoid two errors: over-reacting to the numerous threats that are not serious and under-reacting to the rare threats that are deadly serious.” Cornell says that most school threats are pranks or expressions of anger – and the people who make them typically have no serious intent to carry them out.

Since the massacre in Parkland, the Educator’s School Safety Network has tracked nearly a thousand threats to schools. Most involved guns and bombs, and the majority of those took place on social media and verbally.

And right now, most schools are treating all threats equally – and harshly. An 11 year-old-girl is facing criminal charges in Cloquet, Minnesota, and an autistic 13-year-old boy in Hawaii is, too. There were dozens of school threats in Florida in the weeks immediately following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and even more in other states.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker came out against arming teachers while those in other states have already passed legislation allowing teachers to carry guns. Still, whether or not teachers carry weapons in the classroom doesn’t cover the whole issue. The fact is that there’s nothing in place that equips school administrators or teachers to deal with school threats, credible or not, in place – and nobody has come up with a way to prevent or handle them.

What Do You Think?

How should schools respond to potential threats? Should there be a nationwide plan in place that teachers should implement, and more importantly, do you think teachers should be carrying guns to school in an effort to protect kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino