Posts Tagged ‘School shootings’

Fifteen years ago today (April 20, 1999), the massacre at Columbine High School took place. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered a total of 12 students and one teacher. They injured 24 additional students, with three other people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide.

In addition to shootings, the planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and bombs rigged in cars.

Have we learned our lesson? Have we done enough to stop school violence? In my opinion, the answer is no. Below is an abriged list of school shooting/stabbing incidents since the Columbine massacre. After reeading through them, ask yourself if you think our children are safer.

May 20, 1999 – Heritage High School shooting: Six students were shot and injured by student Thomas “T.J.” Solomon Jr., 15. A 15-year-old girl was hospitalized in critical condition, and the other victims suffered from non-life threatening injuries.

June 8, 1999 – 15-year-old Jessica Yvette Zavala and her 17-year-old cousin, Olivia Munguia, were shot by an unknown assailant outside Lynwood High School.

December 6 1999 – 12-year-old Seth Trickey opened fire in front of the middle school in the courtyard in the pre-school hours. While there were no fatalities, several students felt sparks from the bullets hitting the building walls, and six were injured, including a girl who was shot in the face. Another 7th grade student found a bullet lodged in his algebra book that was in his backpack. Trickey brought the gun from home.

February 29, 2000 – At Buell Elementary School, 6-year-old Dedrick Owens, the youngest-ever school shooter, shot and killed classmate Kayla Rolland.

May 26, 2000 – Lake Worth Middle School Florida teacher Barry Grunow was fatally shot by his student, 13-year-old Nathaniel Brazill, who had returned to school after being sent home at 1 p.m. by the assistant principal for throwing water balloons. Brazill returned to school on his bike with a 5-inch Raven semiautomatic pistol and four bullets stolen from his grandfather the week before. Brazill was an honor student. Grunow was a popular teacher and Brazill’s favorite.

January 15, 2002 – 17-year-old Vincent Rodriguez shot and wounded two students at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Manhattan, with a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol. The motive was that the victims had harassed Rodriguez’s girlfriend. In February 2003, Rodriguez was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of assault and attempted assault.

In fact there were approximately 149 school related shootings from April 20, 1999 through April 17th of this year. Not all of of them were newsworthy and not all of them contained injured victims. However, the ones that did make the news were horrific. From The Virginia Tech shooting to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The latter of which tugs at our heart strings because of the ages of the poor victims.

What can be done to stem the violence? It is not an easy question to answer. We have to start with the outside and work our way in. We dont want our schools to be as tight as Fort Knox, but the assets in our schools are more valuable then money or gold. These assets are our sons, daughters, brothers sisters, mothers and friends.

But I digress, there needs to be some sort of checkpoint before visitors and guests get anywhere near the school building. For employees and students, there needs to be some sort of procedure to assure that no weapons are being brought on to the school grounds. The privacy police need to be educated as to the consequences. You are a student at the school, the only thing you should be hiding is the test that your parents forgot to sign or the embarassing note your mom left in your lunch box.

I have recently performed a security risk assessment on a school that has absolutley no security measures. No cameras, no guards, and up until recently, not even locks on the doors. The classrooms have no way of communicating with the administrative offices. No school in America should be this vulnerable. I have spent countless hours trying to get this school up to to the industry standards.

I understand that schools are burdened with budget cuts and have less to work with but something needs to be done. The federal and state governments need to step in and help protect our children and educators. The alternative is death. I don’t know about you, but in my book that is unacceptable.

I don’t pretend to know all the answeres, but I do know something needs to be done.