The tragedy that unfolded in an elementary school in Connecticut, USA, could happen anywhere, even Canda. We have already had a few “school-shootings”. The reasons are simple:
- schools are large soft targets,
- schools are laid out like prisons with no ready means of escape or security beyond locking doors,
- the media have spread the news that madness and violence gets intense coverage, and
- madness and firearms are everywhere.
“A small town Ohio school board voted unanimously to allow four employees who have permits to carry concealed weapons to bring their guns to school once they have some tactical training, the school superintendent said on Friday.”
see Ohio town to allow some employees to bring guns to school – Ottawa Sun.
This story, about securing schools, is not important in the large scheme of things but that a newspaper in Canada bothers to write about it/cover the story is a major change. No legislation or wishful thinking can make madness and firearms (or other deadly means) go away so schools have to improve security. A layered defence is required to significantly reduce the dangers: better school routines, better buildings (layout, doors, windows and locks mostly), armed guards and training of staff and students in how to respond to threats. Some of these are already being done but fiscal restraints prevent most schools from doing what must be done. Federal or provincial programmes should be set up to make resources available to improve security in schools. There is no time to “study the matter” and “form a committee”. Gather the expertise, form a plan and execute before the next tragedy visits our schools. Fill in the gaps we have in anti-bullying, anger-management programmes and improve physical security now. Schools have a full plate. They need help to do this quickly. The news media have lit the fuse on the next event.