Schools should be places where children feel safe and are able to engage in learning fully. However, especially more recently, there is an increasing concern about students’ safety as they spend a great part of their lives in school. School shootings and other forms of violence such as shooting threats or bomb threats are happening far too often, and there is still no effective solution to preventing these acts. While security measures in schools have definitely increased, it is difficult to say that shootings have not necessarily decreased as a consequence of increased security measures.
The Effects of Columbine in the School Security
One of the most well-known school shootings is the Columbine High School mass shooting in 1999 and continues to have drastic impacts today. Since the Columbine massacre, there have been many copycats who idolize the shooters from Columbine High School. For example, in 2012, the shooter from the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza, was found to have dedicated an entire Tumblr account to praising the murders, including images of the victims (Strauss). Other mass shootings have had perpetrators dress in trench coats because of the influence of the Columbine shooters.
In the twenty years following the mass shootings at Columbine, there were six mass shootings and forty additional active shooter incidents in the United States. Of these forty-six incidents, twenty were confirmed to have perpetrators intentionally using Columbine as a model. However, the Columbine massacre has also triggered a drastic increase in security measures due to the increase of shootings.
Current Security Measures in Schools
Some of the current implementations of increased school security are additional security cameras and trained security guards or cops patrolling schools (Perumean-Chaney). The visible security measures such as cameras, metal detectors, and guards serve as visible measures that intend to prevent crime through deterrence and detection. Other security methods include limiting access to the school building with identification cards, locked doors, gates that are locked outside of entrance hours, and sign-in requirements for visitors or late students.
With the intense increase of security measures, some students face injustices that still threaten their safety. The presence of trained security guards presents the risk of some being subjected to suspicionless searches as general sweeps for contraband (Addington). Because of these invasions of privacy, students may not favor increased security measures as they are more negatively directly affected by them than seeing the positive long-term effects. Using the feedback from students about the current implementations, schools can alter their security measures to protect students and staff and ensure the comfort and justice of those they are protecting.
Some less intrusive measures could be simply having guards monitor cameras rather than having them search students at their own