According to Ahmed and Walker (2018), there have been 23 school shootings resulting in casualties and injuries as of May 25, 2018. The United States is currently averaging one school shooting per week. It would have been difficult to fathom random school shootings as a regular occurrence ten years ago. Over the years schools have prepared students for natural disasters with fire and tornado drills. Now, parents and educators are faced with preparing students for active-shooter drills and advocating arming teachers with guns in some states.
On Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe approximately 30 miles southeast of Houston, Texas a tortured student executed a plan to be an active-shooter at Santa Fe High School killing eight students, two teachers and injuring others. When a shooting of this magnitude takes place this close to home, almost in your backyard, it makes one wonder are we doing enough to keep our children safe. With mass shootings in schools becoming a national epidemic are we doing enough as guardians to identify individuals with mental issues, emotional issues or showing signs of becoming a possible active-shooter? Are we preparing our children mentally and physically for this type of tragedy?
According to an official press release on May 30, 2018, Governor Abbott proposed a School and Firearm Safety Action Plan containing 40 recommendations to help keep our children safe in Texas schools. The proposal focuses primarily on increasing safety awareness and opening the door to collaborative discussions to formulate solutions.
Below are the highlights of his proposal (to review the proposal in its entirety click the link Gov. Abbott School and Firearm Safety Action Plan):
- Increase Law Enforcement presence at schools
- Improve Campus Security Programs
- Increase staffing per school
- Firearm training programs and refresher courses
- Increase awareness and safety meetings
- Increase collaboration between school districts, law enforcement, and parents
- Increase Awareness and Training
- Active shooter and Emergency Response Training
- Firearm safety and storage Training
- Mental Health First Aid Training
- Proactive Measures
- Improve school infrastructure to prevent security threats
- Launch Awareness Campaigns
- Crime Stoppers
- Firearm safe storage practices
- Utilize digital technology resources to prevent attacks
- Removal of students threatening teachers – Zero Tolerance policy
- Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns within ten days
Kudos to Governor Abbott for proposing an action plan for both improvement and preventative measures considered. Just keep in mind as with anything policy related, it may take time to work out the details and execution of Governor Abbott’s School and Firearm Safety Action Plan. In the meantime, parents have an opportunity to increase awareness in their households by proactively talking with children about recent school shootings and getting a pulse for their understanding of the circumstances that potentially trigger such occurrences. Now is also a good time to access the mental wellness of your kids. Are they kind, compassionate, helpful to others? Or are they depressed, bullied, or not adjusting socially? Helping your children cope with tragedy and learning how to identify and avoid potential gun violence at school is paramount to their survival.
Here are some things to consider to prepare your entire family:
- Family and individual counseling
- Gun safety and storage training
- First Aid/CPR training
- Self-Defense class
- An open-door policy at home and school for children to report issues, concerns and potential threats
- Know your children’s friends and engage in their relationships
If you or a family member has experienced gun violence and required assistance, Goins Law is here to answer your questions.
Ahmed, S., & Walker, C. (2018, May 25). There has been, on average, one school shooting every week this year. Retrieved May 28, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/02/us/school-shootings-2018-list-trnd/index.html
Governor Abbott Unveils Plan To Address School Safety In Texas|. (2018, May 30). Retrieved May 30, 2018, from https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-unveils-plan-to-address-school-safety-in-texasRead More
In the state of Texas, guns are third only to God and Country. The second amendment and the right to bear arms is introduced to many youngsters as soon as they can lift their first rifle for hunting season. Guns are associated with freedom, protection and safety and many homeowners view their right to bear arms as their ability to defend and protect themselves and their families from outside dangers. However, what happens when the danger is found in the home? What happens when domestic violence is also a part of the home environment? How does the introduction or presence of a gun impact domestic violence situations? In 2015, in Harris County, Texas, 67% of all domestic violence murders occurred as a result of a gun being present in the home. This statistic is staggering, but what is even more disturbing is that the numbers are increasing nationally, year over year. Gun violence is affecting every aspect of society, as there is an increase in mass shooting and murder-suicides, leaving many to wonder if our relaxed gun laws and ease in which one can obtain a weapon is to blame. Many domestic violence and victims’ rights organizations continue to lobby for immediate federal reform of gun laws. A partial answer to their demand was met this week.
On June 27th, the Supreme Court ruled that domestic violence resulting from reckless, knowing or intentional behavior qualifies as a misdemeanor crime. If convicted, the perpetrator loses the right of gun ownership (Jeltsen, 2016). This means individuals with proven reckless behavior can no longer legally own a firearm, however, the ongoing concern is still the ease in which an offender can purchase a gun from a private seller without scrutiny or a mandatory background check.
Still for many the ruling is a victory of sorts, especially for domestic violence victims and survivors. According to the NCADV (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), domestic abuse can quickly turn into murder when guns are involved and two-thirds of all females murdered in domestic violence incidences are killed with guns and the presence of a gun in the home increases the potential of domestic violence homicide by 500% (n.d.).
In the wake of the Orlando mass shooting, any attention paid to the reform of gun laws is an accomplishment and the Supreme Court ruling is a step in the right direction to decreasing murders resulting from domestic violence and guns.
Interested in reading the full version of the ruling? Click here.
If you know any domestic violence survivors or victims needing assistance, support and/or resources, below are helpful organizations in Houston, TX and Alexandria, LA areas:
Phoenix Women’s Outreach