Multiple incidents of campus violence have long eroded the idyllic notion of the school being as secure as a second home. In response, the U.S. Department of Education met with several student representatives from various schools in the country to speak about steps to ensure community and campus security.
Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Red Lake High School, and Sandy Hook Elementary School—what do these four educational institutions have in common? They experienced violent attacks that left a considerable number of students and faculty dead or injured. The shooters were mostly young people and in some instances were students from the school. Additionally, they almost always killed themselves after their rampage.
School violence statistics are alarming. While steps have been taken before to mitigate, if not obliterate, the possibility of them occurring again, incidents continue every year. This March, students representing various coalitions against violence conversed with Arne Duncan, ED Secretary, and David Esquith, director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS), to put forward their recommendations for school security.
The students agreed that prevention is the best solution. As Yuki Diaz, a youth organizer of Padres y Jovenes Unidos, put it, school administrators should “promote positive measures such as positive behavior intervention and restorative justice.” The body recognized the importance of guidance counselors, social workers, and psychologists in strengthening the stand against campus violence.
The damage has been done, and there is no way to undo it. The lives lost cannot be brought back, and while injuries can heal, the memories of these tragedies will remain. There is however, a way to stop acts of violence from happening again and to spare future generations from the experience. With enough effort and the right actions, it is possible to eradicate campus violence once and for all.