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School Violence

April 9th, 2014, it was an early school morning in Murrysville Pennsylvania. It was no different than any other day until a sophomore pulled out two kitchen knives and went on a stabbing rampage through the halls of Franklin Regional High School.

As yet another year goes by, another April passess, and we are plauged with yet another act of school violence. Now you may be asking, what’s so significant about April and school violence? Possibly two of the most significant acts of school violence have occurred in the month of April, Columbine, and Virginia Tech Massacre. This is nothing more than a coincidence, but the month of April will forever hold the hauntings of these disastrous events.

School violence has taken its fair share of time on the news in recent years; its been the topic of many debates as well as the cause of many changes to our nation’s school security policies. After the tragedy of Columbine in 1999, schools started issuing the Code Red drill that we all know so well. Many schools took away their open campus privileges.

More recently, we have all seen the effects of the Sandy Hook shooting; metal detectors in some schools, and intercom systems at the front doors.

A recurring trend following these school shootings involves a timely spike in the federal government’s interest in gun control. After Sandy Hook, Obama signed 23 executive orders involving gun control, most of which fizzled out in Congress, not even making it to the House. States debated collectively over 1,500 gun bills, trying to make up for the federal government’s apparent inability to act on the matter.

Many people would have to agree that laws regarding gun control could prevent future school violence. Just when we feel like we've solved the problem, incidents like the Franklin Regional High School Stabbing come into play. The suspect had a motive, and he did what he could to cause harm. It didn’t matter that he didn’t have a gun; in his case, two kitchen knives did the job well enough. Instances like this have to make you stop and think, if someone has a motive to cause harm they’re going to use whatever they can to carry out their desire. There were no deaths in the Franklin Regional Stabbing, but the injuries into into the 20s, some being life threatening. Could a gun have caused more harm? Sure; a lot more harm. But not having a gun did not keep the suspect from carrying out his attack.

The Franklin Regional Stabbing suspect also had an advantage that Code Red drills and security at the front doors couldn’t have stopped; he was inside the school, and he was supposed to be. Locked doors during school days isn’t going to keep a dangerous person out if that person is supposed to be there every day. In instances like Columbine, Virginia Tech Massacre, and Franklin Regional Stabbing, the act of violence was performed by a student. It may be easy to stop someone dangerous from coming in, but when the suspect comes from the inside, its not as easy to stop them.

What more do we have to do? We have made our schools safer with extensive security, yet we keep seeing attack after attack occur in our country. Maybe it doesn’t have to do with what is in the attackers hand as much as it has to do with what is in their heads. The mental stability and overall wellness of these attackers is not sufficient. These people that have committed these heinous acts of violence have mental problems that should have been diagnosed and taken care of long before it was too late. As children, the teachers, parents and people spending extensive time with these kids should have observed the odd behaviors exhibited. Mental health disorders are not always easy to see, making diagnosis hard to identify. Schools only have so many ways they can help a student with a mental disorder, so the rest lies a heavy burden on the parents. Raising your child with the right morals, and getting them help when you see first signs of a problem. You hope that would be pretty mandatory as a parent, right? I would too, but these recurring problems would say otherwise.

We have yet to find the missing puzzle piece. The picture of how we can prevent school violence still remains unseen. How many more attacks is it going to take for us to figure out how to end this? I’m not sure any of us know.



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