If you, like me, feel your head is swimming from information overload regarding the need for better school safety, listen to our show on school safety. We try to break down the issues that everyone is talking about and make sense of strategies going forward. There is not going to be one solution that solves the safety issue as the issue is complex. It’s going to take making change on a number of levels to stop this senseless killing. But the president’s listening sessions have helped provide ideas from victim families, governors and others.

Add to this, the research we have regarding threat assessment. Research indicates there is much that can be done to the physical environment of a school to up the safety and reduce fear. A few examples that can reduce violence include increasing natural surveillance, such as having windows at entrances and low or no shrubbery that does not block visibility, and effectively managing access to the building with well-marked entrances and exits that are continually monitored. The use of metal detectors could be beneficial, but have not been extensively studied.

The gun debate seems to be run on emotion versus facts. Truth is 68% of school shooters get their guns from a parent or close relative’s home. That said, I am for raising the age of gun ownership and making background checks much more robust. The division we have in this area needs to be worked through, but common sense says if the brain doesn’t fully form until 25, maybe gun ownership should be delayed. We can all agree that reforms are needed in this area.

The media can make an immediate change by not giving infamy to shooters. I want to remember the victims’ names, not the person who commits homicide. Stop allowing these people to gain notoriety and stop glorifying gun use in media. And this relates to the culture of violence that is used to “entertain” minds. Reducing violence in media would help stop the desensitization to violence we see and improve empathy. Violence begets violence. This is a clear finding.

Mental health should be distinguished from threat assessment. There is no typical profile of a shooter. If you look at FBI profiles, some were from intact families, others from foster homes, some were excellent students, others failing, some had histories of mental illness and others did not. Instead the focus needs to be on threat assessment.

Finally, we need to come to terms with the impact of taking God out of schools. There is no public prayer, rejection of accountability to a higher power, erosion of Judeo-Christian values and human life, brokenness in homes, absent fathers with a decline in spiritual leadership and decline in church attendance which brings community to a person.

Yes, there is much we can do to make schools safer, but ultimately, it will take a transformed heart to make the most significant change.

Making schools safer

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