Security in an educational environment is crucial to the safety of students. A school, for example, should be a safe and comfortable environment at all times with multiple guardians and protectors of the children. However, in the 21st-century gun violence has penetrated this essential safety in schools. Recently, a devastating school shooting occurred on February 14, 2018, in Florida leaving 17 dead and the rest of the school traumatized. This shooting was performed by a former student at the school, Nikolas Cruz. The 19-year old male arrived to the school with a semi-automatic rifle with intentions to eliminate as many students as possible. Although the school and the police force was unaware of the ex-student’s intentions, the real problem being assessed is what was done in response to the shooting. On the day of the shooting, surveillance video displays the school’s security guard standing outside while the attack took place. The security member named Scot Peterson was the deputy who was recorded standing outside for 25 minutes. According to an article by Jon Schuppe and Danny Cevallos President, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said “Last week that he'd suspended Peterson after seeing video footage that captured Peterson's response, hearing witness accounts and getting a statement from the officer. Peterson then resigned.” Peterson denied the allegations that he purposely did not enter the building. His lawyer stated that he was using a tactical position by standing outside. Aside from the case of Scot Peterson, the school shooting raises an obvious question: What is wrong with school security and what can be done to improve it? Clearly, further precautions need to be taken to improve the current situation. These precautions include improving general school security, stricter gun control, and considering the question of arming teachers and faculty.
Taking further precautions when a stranger is attempting to enter a school is necessary to the safety of the students and faculty. One method of improving security is making an entrance to the school premises more difficult. This would be done by constructing perimeter fences around the school. These feces limit access to non-primary entrances and focus the traffic of students and faculty so that they are more easily observed. For example, fences restrict the flow of pedestrians to places under surveillance to maximize the safety of the environment. Another precaution that can be taken is to limit the entrances to the school the areas that are under high security. The more entrances there are, the easier it is for an intruder to get past security. Another precaution that can be taken is to monitor the arrival times and exit times of visitors. A school can also require reasoning for visiting the school and a fairly strong visitor management. This can include background checks as well as a screening from one of the security guards. Along with this, doors of the building can be lightly guarded. Improving strength of doors by using a double door system can be useful to prevent intruders from entering the school. These doors also allow for electronic locking which allows for a quick response to a threat. A strategy called window glazing provides extra support and can be another precaution that a school takes. A door system called DPS (Door Position Switches) can be used to check if the exterior doors are shut and locked. A door that looks closed and locked and is not is unsafe and can lead to unauthorized entrances. The final way in which school security can be improved is having a panic button with each hallway in the school to alert the main office and the police of an emergency. The reason for improving school security is mainly from gun violence which brings up gun control, the next method to prevent gun-related tragedies.
Gun control is a highly controversial issue in America because of the 8 school shootings in 2018 along. This is partly due to the number of firearms that Americans own. There are roughly 88.8 guns per 100 people in the U.S. Nationwide, this comes out to be 270,000,000 guns. Also, 22 percent of Americans own one or more guns. As stated by a website focusing on gun control, “from a 2007 study by Harvard researchers, shows a correlation between statewide firearm homicide victimization rates and household gun ownership” (Lopez). Although it may seem that this number is dangerously high, citizens who own guns defend themselves with the second amendment and the quote “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” These people also defend their rights by stating that these weapons are strictly for self-defense and owning weapons decreases crime. But despite the view that gun laws do not prevent crime, statistics on fatalities due to gun violence leave the government no choice but to create stricter laws. Stated by ProCon, a website which presents viewpoints on nationwide issues:
64,033 total gun deaths between 1999 and 2013: 270,237 suicides (58.2% of total deaths); 174,773 homicides (37.7%); and 9,983 unintentional deaths (2.2%).  Guns were the leading cause of death by homicide (66.6% of all homicides) and by suicide (52.2% of all suicides). Firearms were the 12th leading cause of all deaths, representing 1.3% of total deaths topping liver disease, hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as deaths from fires, drowning, and machinery accidents. (Should more gun control laws be enacted?)
These statistics further prove that more gun control needs to be enforced upon the citizens of America. Further presenting the issues with gun control in the 21st-century, as stated by a website which brings up controversial issues about Florida called Politifact, "In Florida, to buy a gun you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it you do not need to register it" (Romey Ellenbogen and Jimena Tavel). The two authors continue to describe the anger in the citizens of Florida for not making gun laws stricter. Also, CNBC states “Alaska and Louisiana, where guns are lightly regulated, the rate of deaths by firearms (per 100,000 people) is more than four times higher than in New York, Connecticut, Hawaii or Massachusetts, which have some of the strictest gun laws in the country” (Schoen). So, proven by the statistics and correlation between gun control and gun violence, stricter laws on obtaining guns is a method to decrease school shootings. Another strategy to make a school environment more ready for an emergency, the question of arming teachers and faculty is discussed.
The debate on teachers being armed has been brought into deeper question because of the recent shooting. Experts like Dave Workman, senior editor of The Gun Mag and communications director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said: “arming guards or teachers could act as a deterrent so that no one had to draw a weapon in the first place” (Hartocollis and Fortin). So, what Workman is trying to say is that the weapons would essentially be a mental protection. This meaning that if the potential threat knew that teachers were armed, he or she would not pursue in his or her attack. But, the opposing side says that it is unsafe to have a firearm in the presence of children where it could fall out of a holster. Their main argument is that accident do happen. But, the side which favors arming teachers responds with the fact that teachers are the first responders in most cases. They are already there and near the children thus supporting that teachers should be armed. So, arming teachers is a highly controversial issue and has not come to a clear decision but is one of the best strategies for improving the safety of the children and strengthening school security.
In conclusion, school security needs to be greatly improved to decrease the number of school shootings in America. Due to the high number of school shootings being eight in 2018 alone, precautions must be taken to prevent further tragedies. These precautions include improving general school security through multiple methods, making gun laws stricter, and possibly arming teachers and faculty for the protection of the students and the teachers.