20 Years After Columbine — Where Are We Now? [OPINION]
As the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School Shooting fast approaches it's easy to see the impact the event has made on schools throughout the country. Since that fateful day in Colorado that shocked the nation with the loss of 13 lives, there have been 349 people killed in school shootings.
According to the Naval Postgraduate School, the school shooting responsible for the most loss of life is the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut that took 27 lives, mostly children. In 2018 alone there were 97 documented shootings, which is more than double the prior year's total. School shootings have become such a concern that communities are making changes to keep their students safe.
Local law enforcement officers now receive extra training for active shooters with scenario reenactment. Preparations within local and state departments have been upgraded with each year. Due to the increased frequency of incidents and the desire to protect students, schools have been aggressive in implementing safety plans and have increased their active shooter training as well.
Many of our local districts have implemented the ALICE training program for staff and students. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. These programs set a standard outline of the steps staff should take to keep both students and themselves safe. After each horrible incident school administrators across the country find themselves revisiting their emergency plan.
More security and planning was always the way to go, yet a study by Ball State University and the University of Toledo in The Washington Post recently revealed that all the millions of dollars invested in these measures have only lead to what they call a "false sense of safety" and have actually done little to decrease the number of incidents. It is a truly ever-evolving dialog of plans and actions.
In 1999, we stood in shock staring at the television and questioning how? Why? How can this happen here? Today we still have a sense of devastation at each report, yet familiarity to such tragedies has somewhat numbed society to the extreme shock we felt 20 years ago upon hearing about what happened at Columbine.