School Shootings

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

download word file, 8 pages 5.0

It's a typical day in a high school classroom. Students are going about their usual agendas - working on geometry homework, reading plays in English class, dabbling in chemistry.

Suddenly, it happens. Shots ring out. Quick. Loud. Resonant.

The students are suddenly aware their school is under siege.

Would they know what to do or how to get out? And after it's over, would they know where they could seek counseling? But most importantly, could it have been avoided? Following the tragic shootings of 12 high school students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., many school officials are asking themselves the same questions, but many only have a shadow of a crisis response plan in their district manuals, while others simply haven't explored the notion of creating a plan to save lives, said Judy Davidson, director of Renew Center for Personal Recovery in Berea, Ky.

"A lot of schools are doing various pieces of it.

But I feel there are many schools ahead of others, but there are very few that have all of these pieces in place comfortably," she said. "This is an ongoing process. Many (school) systems are just now learning how to do different pieces." According to Davidson, many school districts are using outdated crisis response plans that simply deal with the aftermath of a tragic event rather than building measures into their plans that call for proactive steps to deal with the mental well-being of students.

"Prevention ... includes a system of identifying those at risk, and it has to be done by staff who have their blinders off," she said. "We have not taken indicators seriously in many cases because many times we have preconceived notions of who is at risk. It's clear we've overlooked emotional intelligence in our schools and...