School Safety

May 17, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 19
Can gun violence in schools be prevented?
By Lorna Collier


Twenty years after two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado, lawmakers and safety experts continue to debate how to secure the nation's K-12 schools against gun violence. Recent mass shootings have heightened the issue's urgency, including two last year — at high schools in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas, that took a combined 27 lives — and this month's shooting at a Denver-area charter school that killed one and wounded eight. Congress continues to resist new gun laws, and some of the steps states and localities are taking to protect students are deeply controversial. Most states now allow armed school security personnel, and some districts are arming teachers, a move that has divided parents, teachers and safety experts. At the same time, active-shooter drills that expose young children to the possibility of violence also are sparking debate. Meanwhile, critics complain that while millions of dollars are being spent to “harden” schools with cameras, metal detectors and other paraphernalia, mental health services that might keep troubled students from committing violence remain underfunded.

Jill Collins, a third grade teacher at DeLand-Weldon Elementary School (AP Photo/The Pantagraph/David Proeber)
Jill Collins, a third grade teacher at DeLand-Weldon Elementary School in De Land, Ill., fires a round during a concealed-carry class for teachers last June at Adventure Tactical Training in Farmer City. Illinois is among several states that have allowed teachers and other staff who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon to possess a gun on school grounds. (AP Photo/The Pantagraph/David Proeber)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Issues
Jan. 27, 2023  Deaths of Despair
Sep. 23, 2022  Public Schools' Challenges
Aug. 12, 2022  Parents' Rights
Apr. 01, 2022  Online Learning
Jan. 21, 2022  Teaching About Racism
Oct. 01, 2021  COVID-19 and Children
Jun. 11, 2021  Special Education
Jun. 21, 2019  Title IX and Campus Sexual Assault
May 17, 2019  School Safety
Feb. 02, 2018  Bullying and Cyberbullying
Feb. 03, 2017  Civic Education
Sep. 05, 2014  Race and Education
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
May 09, 2014  School Discipline
Mar. 07, 2014  Home Schooling
Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
Nov. 15, 2011  Expanding Higher Education
Dec. 10, 2010  Preventing Bullying Updated
Apr. 16, 2010  Revising No Child Left Behind
Mar. 26, 2010  Teen Pregnancy
Sep. 04, 2009  Financial Literacy
Jun. 05, 2009  Student Rights
Feb. 22, 2008  Reading Crisis?
Jul. 13, 2007  Students Under Stress
Apr. 27, 2007  Fixing Urban Schools Updated
Nov. 10, 2006  Video Games Updated
Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
Oct. 07, 2005  Academic Freedom
Aug. 26, 2005  Evaluating Head Start
May 27, 2005  No Child Left Behind
Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
Sep. 06, 2002  Teaching Math and Science
Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
May 17, 1996  Year-Round Schools
Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
Mar. 11, 1994  Education Standards
Apr. 09, 1993  Head Start
Nov. 30, 1990  Conflict Over Multicultural Education
Feb. 05, 1988  Preschool: Too Much Too Soon?
Oct. 23, 1987  Education Reform
Aug. 24, 1984  Status of the Schools
Sep. 10, 1982  Schoolbook Controversies
Sep. 03, 1982  Post-Sputnik Education
Aug. 18, 1978  Competency Tests
Jan. 26, 1972  Public School Financing
Nov. 03, 1971  Education for Jobs
Apr. 15, 1970  Reform of Public Schools
Aug. 27, 1969  Discipline in Public Schools
Dec. 27, 1968  Community Control of Public Schools
Jun. 14, 1965  Summer School Innovations
Oct. 28, 1964  Education of Slum Children
Jun. 05, 1963  Year-Round School
Mar. 28, 1962  Mentally Retarded Children
Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
Sep. 25, 1957  Liberal Education
Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
Feb. 02, 1955  Federal Aid for School Construction
Mar. 07, 1951  Education in an Extended Emergency
Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
Congress Actions
Crime and Law Enforcement
Education Policy
Gun Control
Lobbying and Special Interests
Mental Health
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Student Movements
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Violence and the Family