School campuses across the country are on high alert following an unprecedented amount of school shootings this year.
In just 37 days of 2018, we have suffered through 12 school shootings:
Jan. 3: East Olive Elementary School, St. John, Michigan
A 31-year-old man shot and killed himself in the school parking lot after hours of negotiation with police. The man called authorities, let police know he had a handgun and was suicidal.
Jan. 4: New Start High School, Burien, Washington
Shots were fired from outside the school into the administration office and hit a cabinet and three ring binder. No one was injured.
Jan. 6: Forest City ISD School Bus, Forest City, Iowa
A 32-year-old man was arrested after shooting a pellet gun at a school bus. No one was injured, but a window of the bus was shattered as a result of the shooting.
Jan. 9: Coronado Elementary School, Sierra Vista, Arizona
A 14-year-old boy was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the school bathroom.
Jan. 10: California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
A gun was fired on the college campus, but no one was injured. Police placed the school on lockdown for nearly five hours while they searched for a suspect.
Jan. 10: Grayson College, Denison, Texas
A criminal justice student fired a bullet through a wall after mistaking the firearm for a training gun. No one was injured.
Jan. 15: Wiley College, Marshall, Texas
Police believe two suspects in a car exchanged gunfire with a person in a dorm parking lot. No injuries were reported, but a bullet entered a dorm room during the incident.
Jan. 20: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
A North Carolina football player from Winston-Salem State University was shot to death while at an event at Wake Forest University.
Jan. 22: NET Charter High School, New Orleans, Louisiana
An unidentified person pulled up in a truck and shot into a group of students standing outside the school during lunch time. One teenager was sent to the hospital.
Jan. 22: Italy High School, Italy, Texas
A 16-year-old boy was taken into custody after shooting a 15-year-old girl with a semi-automatic handgun in the school cafeteria.
Jan. 23: Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky
A 16-year-old boy open fired on campus killing two people and injuring 18 more.
Feb. 1: Salvador B. Castro Middle School, Los Angeles, California
According to police, a female student “unintentionally” fired a round into a classroom when she dropped her backpack which contained a loaded semi-automatic handgun. Two 15-year-old students were sent to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
According to EveryTownResearch.org, there were only six school shootings in the same amount of time in 2017. The unprecedented amount of school shootings in such a small amount of time have prompted school campuses across the country to take threats more seriously, add security measures to their campuses and focus on training students for emergency situations.
Taking Threats Seriously
There have been at least three school shootings this year that have made mainstream news headlines, after the incidents in Italy, Texas, Benton, Kentucky and Los Angeles schools have made an effort to stay up-to-date and alert in the face of potential threats on campuses.
For instance, if a threat is called into a school officials are being a lot more vigilant in bringing in additional security to protect students on campus, check backpacks and purses and to provide a security front against someone who might want to cause harm to those on campus.
In Alabama, Columbia High School in Huntsville increased security after a threatening social media post, according to the school’s principal. School officials made note that the threat was not deemed credible, but insisted on taking it seriously given recent events.
Additional Security Measures
Recent violent incidents on campuses in 2018 have also acted as the deciding factor in a lot of schools’ decisions to grant additional funding for security measures on campuses. Schools are looking into adding metal detectors, additional school resource officers, visitor management systems, video surveillance and video management platforms as well as updating access control solutions.
After the shooting at Marshall County High School, North Gibson School Corporation officials say they are looking into adding another school resource officer to protect campuses.
"Making that primary goal of education possible - we have to provide that safe, warm, secure environment where learning can flourish," said North Gibson School Corp. Supt. Dr. Brian Harmon in an interview with 14 News. "Part of that is school security and we certainly don't take that lightly."
Uptick in Training, Drills
Campuses are also seeing an increased focus on training for teachers in violent scenarios as well as lockdown drills for students in case of an emergency on campus.
In Ohio, Owensboro Police Department said they saw an uptick in questions from students about lockdown procedures following the news of the shooting in Kentucky. While the campuses in the town do conduct lockdown drills, the school explained that some students are just “going through the motions” and not taking the drill seriously.
When something happens in real life, such as the shootings in the mainstream news, students tend to pay a little more attention. It is suggested that teachers and administrators talk more frequently about emergency situations on campuses and create an open dialogue about what students should do to protect themselves.
The current statistics are scary for students, parents, teachers and administrators on campuses across the country, but these shootings can be prevented and they can result in no injuries as a lot of the incidents in 2018 have. Stay vigilant and err on the side of caution, always.