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Tragedy Builds Awareness

A Tribute to the Newtown Tragedy on School Safety
by

Rozina Jaser

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of Tragedy Builds Awareness

The Last Straw December 14, 2012 - Sandy Hook Elementary School; Newtown, Connecticut
20-year-old Adam Lanza shoots 26 people - 20 of them young students, 6 adults
No words can express the magnitude of horror and loss Looking into the Past Clay tablets have been told telling of school violence from the Mesopotamian Era.
There was no prolonged period in American history where school safety was not an issue Causes of School Violence Long-term serious harm results from bullying and day-to-day experiences in a toxic school environment

Glew et al. surveyed 7th, 9th and 11th graders (6836 total students) in urban US school districts and found that victims, bullies, and bully-victims were not significantly more likely than bystanders to be absent from school, to smoke cigarettes, to use alcohol, or to be suspended or expelled The Findings Victims are were more likely than bystanders to endorse high-risk behaviors, with exception of stealing if they could get away with it

Victims were more likely
to be male
between the ages of 13 and 16
to say it was not wrong to take a gun to school
to cheat at school if they could get away with it

Bullies were almost twice as likely to
say they felt unsafe at school
say that they felt sad most days Tragedy Builds Awareness Influence of School Climate Goldstein et al. (2007) found that adolescents exposed to high levels of relational aggression perceived their school to be unsafe

Exposure with relational aggression was associated with carrying a weapon to school (more for males than females) Prevention Zero tolerance uses severe forms of punishments (such as suspension and expulsion) for minor offenses in hopes of preventing more serious ones

Skiba & Peterson (2000) showed there is little evidence that strategies associated with zero tolerance contribute to improved student behavior or overall school safety

Data on suspension and expulsion raise serious concerns about both the equity and effectiveness of school exclusion as an educational intervention Profiling and Warning Signs Use of warning signs and profiling to prevent school shootings is not supported by research

Trying to profile students who are likely to become “school shooters” is faulty because these shooting events are so rare

Most students who fit the profile will not engage in a targeted school-based attack, and some students who are planning and preparing for an attack will be missed because they do not fit the expected profiles Taking Precautions Options that may minimize violence and enhance school security:
Metal Detectors
Locker Search
School Surveillance Cameras
School Uniforms
Common needs for students and schools:
Positive investment and engagement
Physical & psychological well-being
Academic & social progress Gun Control Debate American media and proponents of gun control believe problems lie in:
"easy availability of gun"
"too many guns" in hands of public
Second amendment and gun rights advocates believe problems lie in:
permissive criminal justice system
failure of public education
fostering culture of alienation and violence
children and adults growing up without moral guidance Guns in School? A billed presented to the House of Representatives in response to the Newtown tragedy would allow employees to carry guns on school property if they:

• Have a state-issued concealed weapons permit

• Keep the weapon concealed on them at all times

• Use only frangible – “soft” – bullets that avoid ricochets

• Provide written notification of the weapon to the school principal

• Have no history of violence or unmanaged anger documented by the school district When our science teacher presented us with the opportunity to create a tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in light of the tragic events, the nature of science inspired us to develop a research project about school safety and dedicate it to the people affected by this horrible tragedy. While researching scientific journal articles and other resources about school safety, we came across a bill that would be presented to the House of Representatives which would allow teachers to possess weapons in classrooms.

We were curious to see how teachers in our school district would feel about this bill, so we conducted a survey to collect teachers’ opinions about the bill. We also included questions about how teachers felt about the overall safety of their school before and after the Sandy Hook tragedy. The following charts depict the results that we collected from the Derby School District. References Borum, Randy, Dewey G. Cornell, William Modzeleski, and Shane R. Jimerson. "What Can Be Done About School Shootings? A Review of the Evidence." Educational Researcher 39.1 (2010): 27-37.

Denmark, Florence. "Chapter 16: Summary and Conclusion." Violence in Schools: Cross-National and Cross-cultural Perspectives. New York: Springer, 2005. 301-03.

Faria, Miguel A., Jr. "Shooting Rampages, Mental Health, and the Sensationalization of Violence." Surgical Neurology International 4.16 (2013): n. pag. 29 Jan. 2013.

Mayer, Matthew J., Ph.D. New Strategies for Keeping Schools Safe: Evidence-based Approaches to Prevent Youth Violence. American Educational Research Association. Capitol Hill Briefing. 8 Apr. 2010.
Selma Abouneameh
Joseph Balog
Christian Olenoski
Lily Wald

Mentor: Rozina Jaser
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