The Blue Valley District should step up to be proactive against gun violence as it becomes an issue in schools

The+Blue+Valley+District+should+step+up+to+be+proactive+against+gun+violence+as+it+becomes+an+issue+in+schools

Anna Quigley

Kaitlin Yu, Co-editor in chief

Most people don’t think it will happen to them. Most people don’t hear about a school shooting and actually think that it will occur at their school. And it doesn’t truly hit them that it could happen this year, or this month or even this week.

On Sept. 29, Lee’s Summit North High School senior Gemesha Thomas brought a gun into the school and took her own life in the building.

This is an example of someone introducing a weapon into a learning environment without anyone noticing. This easily could have been someone with harmful intentions toward others.

The Blue Valley district needs to acknowledge gun violence in schools by implementing tactics to prevent school shootings from occurring and prepare students for when they do take place.

School is the second most common place for mass shootings to transpire, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization that advocates against gun violence, recorded 242 incidents of school shootings since 2013. Luckily, most of those aren’t as extreme as Sandy Hook or Columbine.

Some of them are unintentional firings, causing injury to the owner of the gun. However, other incidents involve injuries and fatalities.

Additionally, Kansas may be at higher risk for school shootings. A study featured in the academic journal “Injury Prevention” found that states not requiring background checks for a firearms purchase and with lower education expenditure generally had more school shootings from 2013 to 2015.

Since they only looked at three years, it must be said that it isn’t necessarily a strong indication of cause and effect. However, it is a warning.

Kansas doesn’t require private firearms dealers to initiate background checks. In fact, many of its laws are lax. Kansas also spends less money on education per pupil than the U.S. total, according to Governing.com.

Therefore, it becomes clear that the district needs to be proactive against gun violence at schools so that we don’t start fighting against it after something terrible has taken place.

So what should the district do to protect its students?

First of all, the district should allocate more time and money to mental health services.

Secondly, the district also should accept that many students have access to guns at home and should be lecturing on gun safety. The district should reconcile the issue of guns at school.

And third, the district needs to inform faculty on procedures if a live shooter appears — 40 percent of shootings are over before the police arrive, according to the FBI. Faculty need to know what to do if left on their own.

As principal Scott Bacon reminds us, our dream was to feel safe and have fun. We have plenty of fun. Let’s just make extra sure that we’re safe.