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An argument in favor of metal detectors in schools in the united states

For instance, after the Jan. This approach attempts to fortify schools against gun violence through increased security measures.

While some of these measures seem sensible, overall there is little empirical evidence that such security measures decrease the likelihood of school shootings. Surveillance cameras were powerless to stop the carnage in Columbine and school lock-down policies did not save the children at Sandy Hook.

As researchers who have collaboratively written about school shootings, we believe what is missing from the discussion is the idea of an educational response. Current policy responses do not address the fundamental question of why so many mass shootings take place in schools.

To answer this question, we need to get to the heart of how students experience school and the meaning that schools have in American life.

Does every school need a metal detector?

How security measures can backfire Filling schools with metal detectors, surveillance cameras, police officers and gun-wielding teachers tells students that schools are scary, dangerous and violent places — places where violence is expected to occur. How teachers understand the children and youth they teach has important educational consequences.

Are students budding citizens or future workers? Are they plants to nourish or clay to mold? One of the most common recommendations for schools, for example, is that they should be engaged in threat assessment. Checklists are sometimes suggested to school personnel to determine when students should be considered as having the potential for harm.

While such practices have their place, as a society we should be aware that these practices change how teachers think of students: Of course, society can think of students in different ways at different times.

But the more teachers think of students as threats to be assessed, the less educators will think of students as individuals to nourish and cultivate. As researchers, we have read the accounts of dozens of different school shootings, and we think educators, parents and others should begin to raise the following questions about schools. As one reads about such shootings, one often senses a feeling of social anxiety and betrayal on the part of perpetrator.

Americans hold high expectations for schools as places of friendship and romance, yet too often students find alienation, humiliation and isolation. The frustration at these thwarted expectations at least sometimes seems to turn toward the school itself.

It is true that bullying is part of some of the stories of school shooters. Students who are bullied or who are bullies themselves will quite naturally think of schools as places appropriate for violence.

  1. Might this also contribute to school shootings? Our suggestion is simply that, instead of trying to find solutions to school shootings in the dubious arms of security technologies, or even solely through more promising public policy, society should ask deeper questions about the nature of education and schooling in American society.
  2. Our suggestion is simply that, instead of trying to find solutions to school shootings in the dubious arms of security technologies, or even solely through more promising public policy, society should ask deeper questions about the nature of education and schooling in American society.
  3. Students who are bullied or who are bullies themselves will quite naturally think of schools as places appropriate for violence. And what should the person or school do if such behavior is reported to them?
  4. He told so many that a crowd gathered in the library balcony to watch.
  5. The key questions for parents and school administrators to think about, the researchers said, are. And what should the person or school do if such behavior is reported to them?

There is also sometimes a rage, however, against the day-to-day imposition of school discipline and punishment. Since schools are experienced as places of force and control, for some students, they also come to be seen as appropriate places for violence. Might this also contribute to school shootings? Suburban high schools, in particular, are seen by the middle class as places to accomplish expressive projects.

How security measures can backfire

Sociologist Robert Bulman points outfor example, how Hollywood films set in suburban settings focus on student journeys of self-discovery, while urban school films focus on heroic teachers and academic achievement.

In the same vein, many suburban school shooters see what they are doing as acts of self-expression. Reading stories of school shootings, one often finds moments in which the shooters claim that something inside, whether hatred or frustration, needed to find expression.

An example of this is the manifesto left by Luke Woodham, who shot two students in 1997.

Questions of status

What to do Of course, it will be difficult to definitively answer the questions we have posed above. And, even if we are able to find answers, it is not clear what the proper educational response should be. For example, self-expression might be a valuable task for schools, even if it is found to contribute in some way to school shootings.

Our suggestion is simply that, instead of trying to find solutions to school shootings in the dubious arms of security technologies, or even solely through more promising public policy, society should ask deeper questions about the nature of education and schooling in American society. It is time to think about school shootings not as a problem of security, but also as a problem of education.