POSTED ON BEHALF OF AUDREY VAN GILDER
I’ve chosen to loosely relate my final blog post to my Peace Learner Commitment. That commitment was made as a result of all I’ve learned about gun violence while interning at the Brady Center, and in an effort to start spreading the word about intercepting gun violence, I’d like to share this resource with you.
This Guide to Preventing and Responding to School Violence is a pretty technical examination of all the pragmatic steps that need to be in place should the worst happen – the worst, in this case, being gun violence in a school. As much as we as teachers and caregivers hope that this never touches us, the fact is, America sees a frightening amount of gun violence on a daily basis, substantially more than any other developed nation. Many of these mass shootings (considered at least four people injured or killed by one shooter at one time) happen in schools.
This document is a very thorough resource for not only teachers, but administrators, parents, community leaders, and public safety officials. It is appropriate to implement in full or in part at the discretion of a school. The important thing is that adults in schools are aware of the threat of gun violence. Not only must official emergency preparedness policies be in place, but teachers have a responsibility to keep an alert eye and ear out in order to discourage talk of violence among students. There are often warning signs of the potential for violence with weapons; the answer to confront this threat is not arming more people, but in increased communication among responsible adults about how to address and respond to violent crisis, should it unfortunately occur.
The way I interpret this resource, it can be used as a way to build a safe community. This pillar of peace education can be addressed by an unlimited number of strategies – this is just one to develop in order to serve a community if gun violence ever does become a reality. In addition, this document is a tangible method of skill building for adults in a school. It should be integrated with the crisis response plans that schools already have, and can be the worst-case-scenario guide for schools that already are committed to building peaceable communities.
As sad as it is to acknowledge, many schools in America are stuck in violent environments, in neighborhoods that experience gun violence every day. Realistic measures must be taken by people in charge to make every effort to ensure no gun crosses the threshold of their schools.