School Security Measures Against Gun Violence Make Our Kids Feel Safer Than They Are

Jennifer Mattern

Researchers at Ball State University and University of Toledo pored over 18 years of data on school security measures, looking for any proof that our kids are safer from gun violence than ever. You probably won’t be pleased (or surprised) to hear that their research shows “security measures” at schools are merely providing a “false sense of security.”

The journal Violence and Gender published the research in a new study suggesting that visible security measures undertaken by schools — such as installing obvious video cameras, metal detector stations, and bulletproof glass; implementing conspicuous staff ID tags; and hiring armed security officers — aren’t actually protecting our kids, according to The Washington Post.

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Study authors James H. Price of the University of Toledo and Jagdish Khubchandani of Ball State wrote, “This comprehensive review of the literature from 2000 to 2018 regarding school firearm violence prevention failed to find any programs or practices with evidence indicating that they reduced such firearm violence. Hardening of schools with visible security measures is an attempt to alleviate parental and student fears regarding school safety and to make the community aware that schools are doing something.”

In fact, 2018 actually topped the charts for school shootings and gun incidents in schools. According to the Naval Postgraduate School, which keeps data of school shootings, 2018 had 94 incidents of gun violence in schools. That’s the most in one year since the data began being compiled in 1970.

According to Scary Mommy, since the Columbine mass murder shootings of 1999, the Washington Post reports that “more than 226,000 children at 233 schools have been exposed to gun violence,” with 143 kids, educators, and other school-related people killed in gun attacks.

The study authors concluded that a continued false sense of safety could ultimately endanger our children even more: “The adoption of ineffective measures to reduce school firearm violence may lull parents, school personnel, and students into thinking they no longer have to be concerned about their safety at school. A false sense of security is a dangerous environment that is currently being propelled by mass media, interest groups, and policymakers.”

Yikes. What’s it going to take to look at this deadly problem on a deeper level? And in the meantime: How do we keep our kids from becoming the next wave of statistics?

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