School Shootings in the United States
Riko Hayashi, Lilika Yasumura-Gade, Emily Izukune

An informative essay on school shootings in America. What can we do—as another educational institution—to prevent and address gun violence?

Gun violence has been an ongoing issue in the United States, a country which has legalized the possession of firearms. Ratified on December 15, 1791, the right to utilize guns is as follows: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Through the establishment of this law, countless lives—young and old—have been taken. These unscrupulous acts can be most seen in the form of a school shooting. A school shooting is an armed attack at an educational institution—such as elementary, middle, high schools, and universities—where there is at least one injury or fatality from the students or faculty. These incidents have been prominent in the United States for an extremely long time, and have not lost momentum since the 1800s. One of the first cases of school shootings can be traced back to 1853 in Louisville, Kentucky, when a student brought a pistol to school and shot the headmaster for punishing his brother the day before. This is just the beginning of the more to come cases of when others were hurt in a supposedly safe environment. Since then, more than hundreds of cases have occurred, killing countless faculty and children. In terms of fatalities, the biggest ones were the Columbine High School massacre, with 15 people killed, the Virginia Tech shooting, with 33 people dead, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, with 28 fatalities. These have all occurred in the span of 13 years, and new cases have taken place consistently. It is well-known that the United States struggles with regulating and diminishing the number of school shootings, evidenced by its devastating history. Now, we must wonder: What can we, as an educational institution, do for these issues?

Unfortunately, the cases of gun violence have not dropped in recent years, and in fact, has been on the rise. According to BBC, “In each of the last three years there have been more than 600 mass shootings, almost two a day on average,” which is significantly higher compared to the years before 2020. Already there have been at least 9 recorded school shootings this year in 2023. The most recent being on March 7th at Thomas Carr Howe High School, where a 19 year old boy was shot outside the school for no particular reason. Here it is important to note that the guns are not being used properly, which is completely different from the original purpose. The most harmful this year was on January 23rd in Des Moines, Iowa, where two teenagers were killed and one man was injured. While the numbers may not seem so big, overall 3 lives were taken and 8 people were injured from school shootings within just 3 months of 2023; numbers are expected to increase if nothing is done to combat the issue. 

Generally, the issues of gun violence in the US are currently a cycle. Ironic to the fact that guns were first ratified so citizens could use it to protect themselves, more and more people are getting hurt from guns including children in schools who are supposed to be protected by adults.  So what should we do to take action and prevent school shootings?

As previously mentioned, school shootings have become a tragic and an all-too-common occurrence in America, with devastating consequences for families, communities, and the nation as a whole. Although there is no single solution to this matter, there are some steps and actions that can be taken to help prevent school shootings. 

The first possible way to prevent school shootings is through gun control measures. Some of the measures can be personal background checks, age restrictions, and prohibiting certain types of firearms and accessories. These measures will make it more difficult for individuals to purchase guns who may pose a threat to obtain firearms, therefore, it is most likely that there would be a significant reduction in school shootings. 

A second  important action/ step is to increase school security. This can include implementing security measures such as metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and trained school resource officers to prevent potential attackers from entering schools. In addition, it's important to encourage communities to become more involved in schools, monitor student behavior, and report suspicious behavior. 

Thirdly, mental health care is one of the most important step, because according to Saferwatch, depression is one the largest contributing factors to the occurrence of school shootings. Mental health care includes increasing access to mental health care services, early detection of mental health issues, and increased funding for mental health research. By being able to identify and address issues that may contribute to school shootings, we can help prevent these tragedies from occurring. 

Fourth, education and awareness is also crucial. By providing education and training for students, parents, and school staff on identifying potential threats, conflict resolution, and emergency response, it can help prevent school shootings. 

Lastly, it is still important to be aware that there is no single solution to this complex issue. However, by implementing a combination of the possible actions that were listed earlier, it can help make schools safer for everyone. It is important for individuals, communities and lawmakers to work as one to address this issue of school shootings in order to prevent future catastrophes. While Seisen does not directly experience school shootings, there is no doubt that we can also help. The Seisen community can donate money to help purchase surveillance cameras and other possible equipment that may be needed to secure the schools. 

 

Works Cited List:

App, SaferWatch. “Can School Shootings Be Prevented?” SaferWatch, 26 May 2022, https://www.saferwatchapp.com/blog/can-we-prevent-school-shootings-and-gun-violence-among-american-youth/. Accessed 12 Mar. 2023.
    
“Preventing School Shootings.” Center for Violence Prevention, https://violence.chop.edu/types-violence-involving-youth/school-shootings/preventing-school-shootings.  Accessed 12 Mar. 2023. Accessed 12 Mar. 2023.

“School Shooting | Definition, Examples, Causal Factors, & Facts | Britannica.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2023, www.britannica.com/topic/school-shooting. Accessed 12 Mar. 2023.


Glavin, Chris. “History of School Shootings in the United States | K12 Academics.” K12academics.com, 26 July 2018, www.k12academics.com/school-shootings/history-school-shootings-united-states. Accessed 12 Mar. 2023.


WTHR.com staff. “19-Year-Old Shot, Killed Outside Thomas Carr Howe High School on Indy's East Side.” Wthr.com, 8 Mar. 2023, www.wthr.com/article/news/local/shooting-near-thomas-carr-howe-high-school-east-side-indianapolis-indiana/531-34c5ff21-1515-4fa6-853e-c1434bc2aaac.

“Gun Violence in US and What the Statistics Tell Us.” BBC News, BBC, 17 Feb. 2023, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081.

“School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where.” Education Week, Education Week, 10 Mar. 2023, www.edweek.org/leadership/school-shootings-this-year-how-many-and-where/2023/01. 

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