Chief Marketing Officer
Publish dateOct 26, 2021
The opening of the school year always holds so much promise. This year especially, it was brimming with even more hope as students officially returned to the classroom after learning online throughout the pandemic. As students slowly return to normalcy, they face another reality of being back in the classroom – school shootings.
In September of 2021, there were 55 school shootings across the country. This is more than double the total of shootings for most full years, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database managed by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
This fact is not easy to write. And it’s not clear what’s more jarring – the increase in school shootings, or the reality of needing a national database to track and manage the incidents.
After a shooting, once the school and campus have been thoroughly checked to ensure additional threats of danger are no longer imminent, students, teachers and administrators are given the “All Clear” by law enforcement.
Yet as well all know, “all clear” isn’t a signal to return to normal as the emotional toll and disruptions in learning are significant. In fact, safety protocols often call for the school where the shooting took place to be closed for several days. Oftentimes, out of an abundance of caution, nearby schools close on the day of the shooting.
In the aftermath of the recent shooting at Timberview High School in Texas where four people were injured, ten nearby schools were put on lockdown that day. Timberview High School remained closed for six days. During that time, as counselors prepared for reopening, an evaluation of campus safety and security protocols was undertaken.
How a gun gets into a school is always one of the first questions. At Timberview, like many schools, there are no metal detectors. However, every campus in Timberview’s school district has law enforcement officers.
Arguably, even when a school can afford to install metal detectors (many can’t), guns still find their way into school due to a variety of factors. For example, the rush at the morning bell and a long queue can prompt security to temporarily turn off the detector. Or the detector is set off by any metal, including laptops, leading to a time consuming process of searching individual students.
Still, there are ways to apply technology to proactively identify and address potential threats of gun violence in school. A recent opinion piece written by renown homeland and national security expert and analyst Charles Marino and published in The Hill says this, “As an additional line of defense, there is no doubt that technology can help detect, disrupt, and deter someone that has their mind set on causing a mass casualty event…’
‘Unfortunately, since neither universal background checks nor an assault weapons ban will eliminate the active shooter threat from ever happening again, it is time to focus on the role that available and affordable technologies can play in helping to mitigate and respond to shooting attacks in supermarkets, office buildings, houses of worship, schools, airports and anywhere else where innocent lives may be at risk.”
Reinforcing Marino’s point, available and affordable technologies can make a difference. This is why we started the GiveEvolv program. GiveEvolv provides need-based grants of Evolv Express® weapons detection systems to K-12 schools in the United States that otherwise would be left vulnerable to gun violence.
As we head further into the school year, campus shootings continue to make headlines. Learning is disrupted. Enforcing safety protocols has unfortunately become second nature for too many. We all know the short- and long-term repercussions and they are worth repeating – the physical and mental impact of a school shooting is devastating. Hearing “All Clear” offers only temporary relief because it signals that yet another incident has occurred. Imagine never having to hear those words again on campus.
If you are a school administrator or know one that may benefit from the GiveEvolv program, you can learn more about applying for a grant here.