After the mass shooting which took the lives of 17 people in
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month, schools
across the nation reported multiple threats involving firearms. Safety concerns
are on the rise amongst parents and students.
shooting at Parkland, Florida happened only 3 months after the massacre at a
church in Sutherland Springs, Texas which left 26 people dead. As the perpetrator
of the Parkland shooting was identified as an expelled former student, people
are questioning school safety in the states.
◎ Rising Firearm Threats Nationwide
experts are concerned about the possibilities of copycat shooting and local law
enforcements are raising awareness and sharing preventative measures through
various social media platforms.
metroplex is not an exception to these threats. On Thursday, February 15th,
3 students were arrested at 3 North Texas High Schools (Marcus High School,
Plano West High School, South Garland High School) for alleged possession of firearms
and/or alleged threats involving firearms.
Two of the
students were arrested for possession of a firearm; there was no discharge. The
third student was arrested on felony charges for possession of illegal
marijuana and a firearm; the serial number had been removed from the student’s
gun and the officials are currently investigating the gun and its origin.
school student from Arlington was arrested for making a verbal threat in school
on February 15th and two students from Weatherford and Grand Prairie
were arrested after making a threat on social media on February 27th.
The accused claimed that their social media posts carried no malevolent
intention, but the local law enforcement said they take every form of threat
a report by Fox News, Nutley School District in New Jersey closed all schools
on February 16th due to a threat made in an Instagram video. The
video contained photos of Nutley High School and students in a classroom, a
song suggesting mass shooting, and footages of teens firing a handgun and
rifle. Nutley parents are demanding armed security officers and metal detectors
in schools after the threat.
On Wednesday, February 27th, Denton County Sheriff
(Sheriff Tracy Murphree) sent a memo to his deputies to take immediate actions
in an active shooter situation. "All commissioned Deputies if you respond
to an active shooter, you are expected to take immediate action,” Murphree
wrote, "we go in to engage and stop the shooter and save lives.”
◎ Teens Voice for Gun Control
around the country are emerging as the strongest voice for gun control. The
teens born after the year 1999 are often referred to as a “mass shooting
generation”. Since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, a minimum of one
school shooting took place each year.
using #menext? on various social media platforms and making pleas for gun
control. They are criticizing the system that allows a pathway for teens who
cannot even purchase alcohol to purchase a gun and asking people of the nation
to be a part of change. The survivors of the Florida school shooting are
currently organizing a national march for gun control in Washington on
Saturday, March 24th.
Wednesday, February 21st, President Trump met with students and
parents from Stoneman Douglas High School and called for arming the teachers.
Some school districts are considering to place retired police officers or
veterans in schools.
Through the rising turmoil of gun violence and the need for
administration’s immediate actions, parents shiver in fear of their children’s
safety at school.
From Left to Right: Mija Chang, LPC-S; Karen Lee, Principal of Skaggs Elementary; Dr. Jung-woong Bang, Former Fort Worth School Administrator
◎ Schools Strengthening Secure and Lockdown
Karen Lee of Skaggs Elementary School in Plano ISD announced that routine gun
violence prevention programs and lockdown drills are in place and the education
administration is receiving intensive training for an active shooter situation.
programs and lockdown procedures vary by schools,” said Principal Lee, “Skaggs
Elementary School is taking extra measures to ensure the safety of students.”
Lee added, “We reinforced entry doors and lock systems to keep intruders out,
improved surveillance and communication systems both within our school and schools
in proximity, placed panic buttons under the desks of our administrative
staffs, and set up and emergency hotline.”
Lee, all teachers and staffs receive training for an active shooter situation
within two weeks after school starts.
drill” is an emergency protocol to prevent students from danger in an active
shooter situation by securing all possible entries within a short time frame
and evacuating to safety.
◎ Psychological Effects of Gun Violence
Association of School Psychologists emphasized the importance of providing
guidelines for students and parents affected by the shootings and helping
students and parents in an effective communication.
NASP, it is crucial to provide children, children in elementary schools in
particular, the assurance of safety in their homes and schools while reminding
them that there are adults to protect them. Schools, communities, and families must
take a methodical approach in communicating with teens and inform them of
procedures that are taking place to keep them safe.
that students may not actively express their feelings and thought processes
after a tragedy, but that does not indicate an absence of distraught. Parents
need to initiate a civil conversation and help students discuss their feelings.
(LPC-S), Korean-American licensed professional counselor in Texas, commented, “Parents
often tell their kids not to be bothered by bullies and tell them, ‘it’ll all
pass.’” Chang added, “Students must learn to speak out against bullying and
officially inform the school of circumstances.”
has a counselor where a troubled student can express their concerns,” said
Chang, “schools will provide other means of counseling services to students if
parents to be observant of their children’s daily routines and pay attention to
any irregularity in emotions, behaviors, eating habits, and sleep patterns.
Chang said, “If
a child displays a drastic behavioral change, insists to be left alone, and
becomes abnormally silent and secretive, parents’ urgent attention is
◎ Building and Strengthening Students’ Characters
Worth School Administrator, Dr. Jung-woong Bang, inferred that the current
state of school violence is a byproduct of a poor social structure and an
absence of character education.
commented on a current state of social structure, “The Second Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms and any means of gun control
is deemed unconstitutional despite the increasing occurrences of gun-related
deaths.” Bang added, “When our education system fails to teach our students the
sanctity of life and our society places a great emphasis on ‘survival of the
fittest’ way of life, the ‘weak’ will detonate bottled up emotions.”
“The digital culture is enabling the teen’s hyperindividualism
which leads teens to have no regard to society,” said Bang, “a development of teens’
morals and values has a direct correlation to their family social environments.”