The Stone Tablet

Schools are Taking a Stand Against School Shootings

Kate F., Staff Writer

Every parent fears the day when they will turn on the news and see that there was a shooting at their child’s school, and the shootings, unfortunately, seem to becoming more common. It isn’t surprising though, the combination of the U.S. owns more than 42% of the world’s guns and the lack of action to treat mental illnesses are two big factors that might be contributing to school shootings. Luckily, only 1% of school related threats, like school shootings, are actually carried out.

Some people say we should have stricter gun control, which could have really good or really bad effects on America. Gun control is a very controversial topic in America, so there are many angry opinions being thrown around about how to keep schools safe. Some people want to arm teachers, others think that we should focus on treating mental health, while most people don’t know exactly where they stand on the matter. Maybe we should figure out why school shootings happen before we make any laws. One reason students might bring guns to school is because they feel scared, threatened, or bullied. They might feel like bringing a weapon to school will keep them safe. Maybe if schools could put a stop to bullying, we might be able to keep guns out of school, without arming teachers.

According to NPR there has been a lot of research has been done, and one way to make schools safer might be to focus on mental health, bullying, and suicide prevention. Making schools safer will make students feel better, and therefore getting rid of the need for students to bring weapons to school to feel safe. It takes a lot of time and money to raise funds and train educators about helping students who have mental health issues, bully victims, or students who are thinking about suicide. Maybe if schools asked for money to train people to deal with these issues, the public would help. There is definitely a need for these services because, according to NPR, “…one in five K-12 students in the United States has a mental health problem…but four in five of those problems go untreated.” Mrs. Mitchell, our school principal, also had some ideas about how to make schools a safer place, “I think we all have to be actively involved in situations…We have to be vigilant and help people who are having a bad day. We [also] have to work on being kinder to one another…[We should also] take every threat seriously. If your friends says that they want to shoot up the school, and even if you know that they are joking, you should tell  an administrator at the school… If we report these things, [if we are] vigilant, and [if we are] kinder to one another we can really make a difference and deter these things.”

Treating mental illness to help prevent school shootings seems like a good idea in theory, but the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) can’t do anything to help, this issue is hindering the process of preventing school shootings. The Dicky Amendment, the name of a provision created by Congress, prevented the CDC from supporting or doing any research related to gun control, along with mental health issues that might make someone shoot up a school. While this provision did not prevent smaller organizations from doing research, many were afraid to because they would not have funding or support from the CDC and they were also afraid of something similar to the Dickey Amendment. That is why there has been very little research about mental illness contributing to school shootings. If Congress would repeal this provision, America would be well on its way to stopping school shootings.

The most common weapon used in school shootings is an AR-15. The “AR” in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that created it. There has recently been a nation-wide ban on these rifles. This style rifle is semi-automatic and has a large magazine, making it a popular weapon among school shooters. The gun was originally made to be used by the military, but it is now also used for murdering children and teachers in potential school shootings. Is there anyway for America to come to an agreement on how to keep guns out of the hands of possible school shooters, but allow responsible gun owners to keep their registered weapons? Only time will tell, and possibly Congress.

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