Gun Violence in Schools

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Overview of the Problem

Gun-related violence in schools is an omnipresent issue that has greatly increased over the last 20 years and there has been a 60% increase in school shootings which lead to multiple student deaths and student casualties (Cornell, 2019). If we do not address school violence, then our country has failed the safety of students and the community.

Causes of the Problem

Bullying: Consequently, students who have been bullied are more likely to be the cause of school shootings. Referred to as an “injustice collector,” the shooter may have been physically beaten, mentally beaten, teased, threatened or been a victim of malicious rumors and lies (Newsdeck, 2018). Bullying is the number one cause behind these unfortunate incidents because students feel left out. Bullying victims are prone to experience feelings of humiliation which lead to thoughts of suicide or revenge and this happens to the majority of victims (Lee, 2013).

Mental Illness: Overcrowded classrooms, exhausted teachers, and a lack of school resources have made it difficult to identify a troubled student. Whether the student is diagnosed with a mental illness or not, the mental health of a school shooter is a potential trigger factor (Newsdeck, 2018). It has been recorded that only a third of, which is 34% attackers ever acquired a mental health evaluation and less than a fifth of the attackers, which is 17% were diagnosed with a mental disorder. Even though, an average of 78% of school shooters had a history of suicide thoughts or suicidal attempts previous to their attack (Vossekuil, 2002).

Gun Access: In the United States, buying a gun is a relatively speedy operation (Taylor, 2018). Gun laws vary significantly in all states. For instance, in Florida, to purchase a gun, there is no need of a special permit or required fingerprints (Taylor, 2018). The easy access of firearms must be restricted. Such as, according to NCES, students in grade 9-12 of public schools, in 2017 reported carrying an assault weapon on school property. Due to this, there has been an unfortunate event of 311 mass shootings by 2018, which resulted in 314 killed and 1,270 wounded (Lopez, 2018). That is with no doubt and calculated to be almost one mass shooting a day.

Effect of the Problem

Student Performance: Students show reduced engagement in group learning activities that could set back their learning abilities from the incident. There is a decrease in test scores for the school overall and for individual students; the lower test scores are continuous up to 3 years after a shooting (Beland, et.al, 2016). Moreover, on average, in Grade 9 enrollment there is a 5.8% decline for the average school experiencing a shooting. The proficiency rate in math is reduced by 4.9 percentage points. For English standardized tests, a smaller measure of the effect of shootings is 3.9 percentage points lower than the comparison schools (Beland, L., Kim, D., 2016).

Post-Traumatic Stress: Students who witness school shootings suffer from traumatic stress likely from the event. Short term impairments can cause severe distress and have extreme effects on the child’s psychological system. Their psychological systems that handle stress and anxiety have been prone to increase (Fagan, 2019). Furthermore, the severity of PTSD was worse for all exposure levels if the students knew the victim well. In fact, 44.3% of those who were exposed to a violent crime were categorized as having “moderate” PTSD symptoms and 18.6% as having PTSD symptoms categorized as “severe” (Fagan, 2019).

Proposed Solutions

Threat Assessment: Assessments are designed for schools to take advantage of to help and assist the students with undetermined grievances or other mental health needs. That is why, the use of behavioral threat assessment and intervention teams should be implemented in all schools. (Sawchuk, 2019). For this to work properly, the assessment must compose and gather information from all necessary sources and consider the students statements to conduct such context. Fortunately, there have been intervention teams that have considered implementing such contexts and were recommended to many schools to find that well-trained multidisciplinary school teams have resolved thousands of school threats and prevented serious injuries (Sawchuk, 2019).

Mental Health Approaches: Schools must adopt resources for students to obtain high quality mental health training for staff to meet the needs of troubled students. According to the National Education Association (2014), there is a noticeable need to focus more on mental health within the school setting. In addition to school aid and mental health counselors, they must collaborate on screening and counsel students who are mentally ill. This is the most effective way of preventing more school shootings. A child’s psychological and direct experiences with shock, sadness and fear after a school shooting must be addressed as well so there will not be post partum effects. Including depression, anxiety or suicidal ideals, between 12% and 27% of students may suffer from these mental disorders, yet only one sixth of these students receive mental health interventions (Weist, Rubin, Moore, Adelsheim, & Wrobel, 2007).

Self regulation programs: Violence prevention programs which address self- regulation; one’s capacity to adapt his or her behavior, personal responsibility, impulse control and social information processing has significantly helped to reduce youth violence within the schools (Harms, 2012). This is very important because this indicates there is a chance for adaptation to help those students in need. Self-regulation encourages students’ social conscience to take control over their own impulses and encourage them to make healthier choices (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008).

Next Steps

Steps in preventing school shootings is to enact gun control measures that include banning assault weapons. We need to create reassurance by getting rid of those loopholes that currently exist and pass legit background checks for every person that walks through gun stores. Provide social network and strength in community services to help prevent and support those who suffer. Otherwise, there will continue to be PTSD amongst students, an unsafe community and continue to be a hindrance in student successes. Schools must implement mental health classes, timely psychiatric support that could help prevent some of these shootings.

This plan will draw a better outcome and future prevention from school shootings. It is time for students and staff to feel more safe by recognizing warning signs. Therefore, in order to ensure the well-being of all students and faculty, it would be beneficial for a bridge to be built between schools and mental health agencies so that students suffering from a mental illness, and those struggling individuals who have access to firearms, receive the help and treatment that they require.

Cite this paper

Gun Violence in Schools. (2021, Dec 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gun-violence-in-schools/

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