AMU Law Enforcement Original Public Safety

There Are No Easy Solutions for Preventing School Shootings

By Allison G. S. Knox
Edge Contributor

Last month, Americans heard about yet another horrendous school shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. This incident was particularly heinous as 19 children and two adults were killed, and it is a sad reminder of what took place at Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012

For decades, Americans have pleaded for these school shootings to stop. Lawmakers have focused on several different solutions ranging from mental health counseling to increasing gun control. But due to the Constitution’s Second Amendment and the concern our founding fathers had about government control, guns are still prevalent in our society. The frustration of the American people is real as innocent lives continue to be lost to these horrific acts of violence.

At the heart of all disasters are administrative failures. Scholars note that some of these administrative failures resulted in the Challenger tragedy or the Abu Ghraib prison abuses.  With this recent Texas tragedy, we can say that there was an administrative failure somewhere along the line.

School Shootings Are a Problem with No Easy Solution

Active shooters – especially school shootings – are a “wicked problem” in our society. This type of problem is so complicated that it is difficult to find an effective solution. In addition, fixing one aspect of a wicked problem can result in other problems being created.

Schools Need Special Safety Precautions

Instead of having discussions about gun control or mental health, we need to create simple, fast-acting solutions to curb school shootings. Schools, for example, should have special safety precautions. Front-office staff members should treat each person coming through a door as a threat, even if they know them personally.

Likewise, maybe schools should be converted into security fortresses. While parents may be terrified at the prospect of turning schools into fortresses, the fact remains that school security needs to be a top priority.

Lawmakers at the local level should find the funds to prioritize school safety. Similarly, law enforcement needs to figure out better ways to immediately apprehend active shooters and prevent more lives from being lost in school shootings.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as an Intermittent Emergency Management Specialist with the Department of Health and Human Services, as At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. She is also chair of Pi Gamma Mu’s Leadership Development Program. Prior to teaching, Allison worked for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. She is an emergency medical technician and holds multiple graduate degrees.

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