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School Shootings: An EduInReview Perspective

School shootings are an uncomfortable reality. They stun us and clutter our headlines with dark reminders of the depths of human depravity. As a community passionate about promoting safe education, EduInReview could not stay silent on this issue. It’s time to clear the partisan airs surrounding these heart-breaking and divisive events.

SCHOOL SHOOTING STATISTICS

School shootings are an issue best examined through an objective, logical lens.  Please note that in the context below, ‘school shooting’ references any incident on an educational campus where a gun was involved. This includes suicides and events that ended without injury. It should also be noted that many governmental organizations are limited in their ability to research guns and gun-related violence.

With that cleared up, here are ten statistics about school shootings gathered from a combination of Every Town and Campus Safety:

  • Since 1999, at least 150,000 students at 170 primary and secondary schools have experienced an on-campus shooting
  • There were 294 school shootings in the United States between January of 2013 and March of 2018.
  • About 95 percent of the attackers were students at the campus where the attack occurred
  • Most attackers used guns as their primary weapons.
  • The guns used to carry out these attacks tended to come from either the shooter’s home or a close friend or relative.
  • Over half the events occurred at K-12 schools and only 76 incidents took place at a college or university
  • 98 percent of the attackers experienced a major loss just prior to the incident, while 71 percent of attackers felt bullied or threatened
  • More than half of the attacks occurred during the school day
  • Researchers found that test scores decreased in schools that experienced a school shooting.

FIVE TALES OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

To better understand the issue, we will look at five specific incidents and the resulting aftermath.

Columbine High School:

This incident is often thought to mark a shift in school-related violence and is considered one of the most pivotal school shootings in history. On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and injured 24 others before committing suicide. They made use of a shotgun, 99 explosives, and a variety of knives. The entire incident lasted less than an hour. But, the debate it sparked persisted for years afterward. A variety of factors, including anti-depressants, long-term bullying, and psychopathic tendencies were thought to play a part in sparking the massacre.

Sandy Hook Elementary School:

This incident shocked many due to the young age of the children involved. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza not only gunned down 20 children between 6 and 7 years of age but also killed six staff members. Adam Lanza, who was 20 years old at the time, ultimately took his own life. This incident would go down as the deadliest shooting at a grade school or a high school in history. It is also the fourth-deadliest shooting carried out by a single perpetrator in US history. Severe mental health problems were thought to be a motivating factor.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School:

Valentine’s Day of 2018 was not a happy day in Parkland, Florida. Nicolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, chose that day to open fire on his classmates. In the aftermath, 17 people were dead and many more wounded. Disguising himself as just another terrified student, Cruz escaped the campus. He was later arrested by the Broward County Sheriff’s department. His motives are unclear; however, he had previously been reported to the FBI for making school shooting-related threats. The students affected by this shooting have been crediting with changing the gun debate.

Santana High School:

Charles Andrew Williams killed 2 classmates and wounded 13 others on March 5, 2001. Prior to the shooting, the boy was having a tough go of it. But, a public scolding by a teacher proved to be the last straw. Citing bullying as a main reason for the attack, Williams was later arrested.

Marysville Pilchuck High School:

In the days leading up to the shooting, Jaylen Fryberg’s friends described his behavior as normal. But, that did not stop the 15-year-old from fatally shooting four of his classmates and wounding a fifth. Text messages discovered after Fryberg’s suicide revealed that his attack resulted from a recent break-up.

THE ARGUMENTS

Though gun control arguments span a wide spectrum, they can be divided into two main groups:

The Stalwart Right:

People on this side of the argument often consider themselves Republicans. They are people who deeply cherish the second amendment and believe government operates best when it’s tiny. They tend to align with the NRA and prefer gun laws to remain as they are. When it comes to preventing further campus-based gun violence, their plans typically revolve around making our campuses more battle-ready.

 The Limiting Liberals:

Those on the left believe that school shootings result from a hellish mixture of mental illness and easy access to firearms. They also support stricter background checks and implementing nation-wide bans on assault rifles and high-ammunition rounds. They also tend to promote easier access to mental health services and funneling additional funding into bullying-prevention programs.

Other solutions include withholding the names of attackers to prevent copycat incidents, installing a second door in every classroom, employing law enforcement to specifically monitor school threats, and repealing the second amendment. Regardless of what our lawmakers decide, we must all be part of the solution.

THE POWER OF STUDENTS

Students can be powerful advocates on either side of the aisle.  The Atlantic, for example, say that the advocacy of Parkland students has ‘changed the gun debate.’ If you’re interested in making schools a safer place, consider placing a call to your local representatives, or becoming a part of the #NeverAgain movement launched by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

CONCLUSION

When gunmen open fire on campuses, K12 or collegiate, the very country is shaken to its core. Such attacks fly in the face of everything our country believes in. Schools should be a place of inclusion and education, not fear. But, that does not mean we can stick our heads in the sand every time the issue fades from the headlines.

Before you choose your alma mater, take a moment and research your prospective school’s safety record, security, and active shooter plans. The life saved might be your own.



Smut or Shakespeare: Kansas Senate Defines What’s Appropriate for the Classroom

If you’re a student (or know a student) in Kansas, major changes may be coming to your curriculum. The state’s Senate has recently passed a bill (SB56) removing legal protections for educators in schools for using curriculum methods that may be viewed as harmful to minors. However, the legislation did not remove the same protections for educators at colleges and universities.

kansas capitol

Seen by supporters as a way to protect minors from “offensive content,” the measure gained traction after a poster in a Johnson County middle school spurred some parents’ ire. The poster, displayed as part of sex-education curriculum, asked the question “How do people express their sexual feelings?” Answers to that question included intercourse and anal sex. None of the answers to the question were depicted in any way on the poster other than with words. Some parents were offended by the posters’ content, and it was removed by the school.

The tide then turned to other materials which some could consider inappropriate, culminating in the bill passing in the Kansas Senate. It will now go to the state’s House of Representatives. The bill would allow for teachers, principals and other educators to be charged with misdemeanors for disseminating and/or displaying materials determined to be harmful to minors.

Nathan Whitman, educator from Burrton High School in Kansas, helped clear up exactly what the “offensive content” would be. He said, “inappropriate content called ‘harmful to minors’ as defined by SB56 is ‘any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse when the material or performance, taken as a whole or, with respect to prosecution for an act described by subsection (a)(1), that…the average adult person…find[s]…[appeals to a] prurient interest in sex to minors[;]…depicts or describes nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community[;]…lacks serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value.'”

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For-Profit Colleges Sue Obama Administration, Again

A new set of rules designed to regulate for-profit colleges caused industry lobbyists to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration. According to the lobbyists, the rules are arbitrary and unconstitutional.

courtroom

The rules released the last week of October are an amended version of the gainful employment regulations proposed by the Obama administration earlier this year.

Under the rules, for-profit colleges would not receive federal funding for career training programs if their graduates graduate with a lot of debt but find only low-paying jobs.

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President Obama’s Perfect Reaction to Fellow Voter’s Girlfriend Joke

Who knew voting could be this fun!? Check out what happened after a man told President Obama not to touch his girlfriend (who happened to be standing next to him to vote)!

The video cuts out the best part of the interaction. After they were done voting, President Obama takes the woman aside and said, “Give me a kiss and give him something to talk about,” as he gave Cooper a hug and a peck on the cheek. “Now he’s really jealous.”

While you probably won’t end up voting next to the President, you should still go vote every chance you get. It’s the best way to make sure your voice is heard.

For a lot of people, the first time they vote is while they’re in college. They’ve recently turned 18 and are ready to exercise their right to vote. In many cases, these people don’t vote until it’s time to elect a President, even if there are other elections between then and their 18th birthday. It’s time for that to change.

Midterm elections are coming up in November, and they are just as important as the Presidential one. If you’ll remember from history or government class, the United States Government is split into three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Though the Executive Branch may get all the attention when it comes to elections, it’s the Legislative that will be seeing changes following Election Day 2014. Midterms are the time to vote for Senators, new or incumbent, who will help shape the laws of the land.

Also Read: 

Yes, College Students Will Wake Up Early – To Vote!

The U.S. Department of Education Should Think Before it Tweets

Under 30 Vote Most Influential in History

Video from NBC



Want Free Tuition? Germany May be the Place for You

Those looking to save on a college education may want to try their luck in Germany. The country just committed to tuition-free higher education for all students, including international students.

germany college

Lower Saxony was the last of seven German states to abolish tuition after the country began charging for it in 2006. Germany has a firm commitment to universal education, so the German states began dropping their tuition fees one by one.

The minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic said in a statement, “We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents.”

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Colorado Measure Against Civil Disobedience Incites Student Protests

At least 700 high school students in Jefferson County Colorado walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest proposed changes to their schools’ history curriculum.

colorado protest

The suggested changes from their school board include an evaluation-based system for awarding teachers’ raises, and a curriculum committee that would push for the promotion of “positive aspects” of the United States and its history. The committee would ask educators to avoid any material that may encourage or condone “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

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Campuses Still Don’t Know What to do About Rape

If you were the victim of sexual assault while at school, you would expect that something would be done about it. Unfortunately, there are now nearly 80 colleges and universities under federal investigation due to Title IX violations stemming from how the institutions of higher education handle reports of sexual assault. Hint: it’s not well.

Many times, when sexual assault or rape is reported on college campuses, the consequences hardly match the crime. Then there are the times when instead of the rapist being punished, the victim is blamed because they were too drunk or too scantily clad to have a legitimate complaint.

Take for example the case of a young woman who was raped after a party at the University of Kansas last year. She had been drinking, and was assisted back to the dorms by a fellow student. The young woman was raped, she reported the attack, and the young man later confessed to the campus police that he had continued to have sex with her after she said, “no,” “stop,” and “I can’t do this.”

Even with the confession, the local police refused to prosecute the male student for sexual assault. The local district attorney announced on September 3 that he will consider filing charges in the case due to receiving new information. The alleged attack happened on October 18, 2013.

The school did take action against the male student, punishing him by putting him on probation, banning him from campus housing, and telling him to write a four-page paper. KU also considered giving him community service, but it was decided that measure was too “punitive.” In the meantime, the young woman was threatened with arrest for underage drinking at the party before the alleged rape.

“People need to know how little attention this is being given when they do come forward to the university,” the young woman said about the lenient punishment and lack of support from local law enforcement to the Huffington Post.

“You get serious consequences for plagiarizing, and you get horrible consequences if you have a six-pack of beer in your dorm. I think this is more serious than those, and it’s given very little attention.”

Another young woman who was the victim of rape is taking matters into her own hands to get others to pay attention to her case. She says she was raped by a classmate on the first day of her sophomore year at Columbia University. Now a senior, she has designed her senior thesis to aid in her protest that rapist has been allowed to remain on campus.

In May, she wrote in Time what her experience has been like. “Every day, I am afraid to leave my room. Even seeing people who look remotely like my rapist scares me. Last semester I was working in the dark room in the photography department. Though my rapist wasn’t in my class, he asked permission from his teacher to come and work in the dark room during my class time. I started crying and hyperventilating. As long as he’s on campus with me, he can continue to harass me.”

Her protest is simple act of carrying around a twin-sized dorm mattress similar to the one on which she was attacked. She intends to carry it “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist.”

Sexual assault and rape are serious issues on college campuses. It’s not a growing trend, but rather a trend that is gaining much more attention that it has in years past. Hopefully, with the added attention, victims may finally get the justice they deserve.

Also Read:

Rape Victim Fights Two-Year Court Battle for Not Cheering Attacker

Name of Klan Member Dropped from University of Texas Dorm

Students Invent Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs

Video by the Columbia Daily Spectator



Students Invent Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs

Even if you’ve never been to a party or bar, I bet you know their number one rule: Never leave your drink unattended. There’s also its cousin, never accept a drink from someone if you didn’t see them make it. Why all the rules?

mixed drinks

In the United States, 18 percent of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That’s nearly one in five. Often, the assaults are facilitated by the use of date rape drugs. These include Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB.

Problem is, these drugs can be difficult to detect, and up to now, no one has figured out a reliable, and discreet, way to check for them and still maintain your drink. That may change with a new idea from four undergraduates at NC State University. They’re developing a nail polish, Undercover Colors, which changes colors in the presence of common date rape drugs.

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FAFSA Error Affects Thousands of Students’ Financial Aid

If your financial aid package for the upcoming school year seems off, you may want to have it checked. An error on the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, made some applicants appear far better off financially than they actually are.

financial aid

The error on the online form causes some low-income filers appear to be millionaires, which can have a dramatic impact on what, if any, federal financial aid they can receive.

Jeff Baker, policy liaison at the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid told student-aid administrators at the Chronicle of Higher Education that the error has already impacted thousands of borrowers, and is likely to impact even more.

“It’s a serious problem,” Baker said at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting. “We have to fix it.”

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Your Friends’ Moods Online Can Impact Yours in Reality

By this time, I think we’ve all heard the story of the Facebook experiment that caused some people to see mostly positive posts and others to see mostly negative posts. When it was revealed the study took place without the knowledge of any of Facebook’s users, people were outrage and dismissed the study as unethical.

facebook mobile

While I personally agree that the way information was gathered for the study was pretty sketchy, but it did yield some interesting results. The study showed that the more positive posts you see, the more positive things you’re likely to post yourself. The same went for negative posts.

According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 90 percent of people in the 18-29 age bracket use social networking sites. If we take Facebook’s study to be true, that means 90 percent of college-age people’s emotions are somewhat influenced by their virtual social network.

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