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School Security Procedures May Not Be Enough To Keep Kids Safe, Study Finds

Although there is a lot of money being invested in keeping students safe, it might not be the most logical solution, according to a study published in the journal Violence and Gender. A team of researchers at the University of Toledo and Ball State University conducted a comprehensive review and collected data of 18 years of reports on school security measures. They found that little has changed in recent years even though many schools are “hardening” their school safety procedures and adding additional resources.

The study says that the majority of parents not only support mental health screenings, but also armed guards and metal detectors on school property. However, many schools do very little to engage in collaborative research and cost-effective educational programs to help curb on-campus violence. Even though hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on hardening schools, there is very little evidence to show that it is diminishing firearm violence in school.

According to the Washington Post, the problem is only getting worse and not better despite all of the money that is being invested in keeping students safe at school. The study states, “This comprehensive review of the literature from 2000 to 2018 regarding school firearm violence prevention failed to find any programs or practices with evidence indicating that they reduced such firearm violence. Hardening of schools with visible security measures is an attempt to alleviate parental and student fears regarding school safety and to make the community aware that schools are doing something.”

A poll by PDK International says that 80 percent of parents support armed police officers in school, while 76 percent of parents support mental health screenings for all students. Also, 74 percent of parents support metal detectors at school entrances. But that number goes down when parents are faced with just one choice - mental health services or armed guards at schools. About 71 percent would rather spend money on mental health programs than an armed campus officer.

The data also showed that 2018 was the worst year for school shootings and gun-related incidents on record. This includes instances in which a gun was brought to a school campus and when shots were fired. Previous research has found that firearm injuries are the third leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 19 years old.

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